Over my vacation last week, I was able to finish watching Kimi Wa Petto, the 10-episode live-action adaptation of one of my favorite manga series, Tramps Like Us. I loved it! I got caught up in seeing live people go through these scenes; it made the situation much more real and emotional for me.
Plus, the actors were well-chosen. Sumire was tall and lovely, capable of realistically being called a masked doll but still clearly dealing with her feelings. Momo was adorable but believable as a famous modern dancer.
The series made it clear that being Sumire’s pet was an emotional escape for Momo, where he didn’t have to be humanly complex but could retreat to the simple role of a caring animal. I always understood Sumire’s motivations and desires, but the boy’s were never as obvious to me.
The show seems to proceed from exploring the difference between happiness that’s “normal” (defined as “acceptable to society”, which I assume is cultural) and what’s not, which is normally assumed to be temporary. Yet the romance comes from realizing that someone who accepts who you are unquestioningly and who you don’t have to pretend or hide or put on personas around is your true love.
That said, the counselor disturbed me. I often didn’t understand what he was getting at, and sometimes I couldn’t believe he’d talk to her the way he does. I guess it’s American to assume that when you seek counseling, the counselor should take your side, or at least project into it enough to be sure he understands you before doling out advice rudely.
And the closing theme song will get caught in your head, even though only the title, “Darling”, is in English. The translators have kindly provided the meaning of the lyrics as well, too.
The official site for the show is still available (in Japanese, of course), and here’s the (minimal) IMDB page for the 2003 series. Big thanks to Jake Forbes for first telling me about this, years ago!