This time, I went for a Netflix original j-drama, developed by Fuji Television, called Atelier (a.k.a Underwear). Although I’ve watched Japanese and Chinese movies when I was younger, this was my first Asian TV show.
Mayuko finds a job with a high-class lingerie manufacturer in Ginza. It is the story of a woman experiencing confusion, struggle and growth in a world with a new set of values different from any she has ever known, and seizing the Japanese dream. Atelier is a workplace-based coming-of-age novel drama, written to present the story of a working woman, with the setting of a glamorous world of lingerie manufacturer.
During half of the first episode, I was still getting used to the Japanese acting. They tend to exaggerate their reactions, and even Nanjo, the boss, seemed to be silly sometimes. But this difference in interpretation can be refreshing.
It’s said that Atelier is the Japanese equivalent to The Devil Wears Prada, but I strongly disagree. Maybe at first Nanjo, but early on the series, she and Mayuko start having a nice relationship and developing a connection and deep understanding. During most of the show, it was about learning, self-development and making Emotion (the lingerie brand) survive and evolve.
What I liked the most about Atelier, and maybe it’s a j-drama characteristic, is how they value the storytelling, the characters’ relations, and emotions, rather than focusing on visual effects and CG. Another interesting fact is, while there was some romantic interest on Mayuko from a couple of characters, it wasn’t a big part of the show, and Mayuko didn’t show much interest, being much more involved with her work and her learning.
In the end, I watched the whole show in less than a week, giving it all of my reading and watching time. I really recommend Atelier even if you never watched any Japanese movie or TV series. At worse, it’ll broaden your perspectives about TV and expand your mind a little bit. At best, it’ll give you a pleasant and remarkable time, and maybe make you shed some tears in the process.