Typically Zany Japanese Comedy with A Very Charismatic Actress
There are times when you just have to watch a tough, gritty crime drama. Like "The Sopranos" or the equally excellent "Breaking Bad".
Other times you feel like watching something thoughtful and provocative like "Fight Club" or "American Beauty". Perhaps a compelling little art film directed by the writer of the latter called "Towelhead".
And sometimes you can't handle the heavy stuff and crave a bit of fun; cute and sweet like a triple ice cream cone with sprinkles on a sunny summer day.
"Aino Mating Agency Inc" ( to give it the anglicised title on VIKI ) is just such a sugary confection. And while it's not in the same league as the giddy first season of "Switch Girl", it's still pretty good.
Their business is introducing people with a view to marriage and they boast of a 100% success rate. There is no face-to-face contact allowed from the man and woman during the process, with skyping being the preferred method of interaction. Managing the agency is Mr Aino ( Ikusaburo Yamazaki ), an extroverted zoologist and Johnny Depp lookalike who collects animal figurines and bursts into cheesy songs every episode. His chief lieutenant is a Catholic nun called Sister Elizabeth ( Rin Takanashi ) and the office also features an older woman who does the accounts, the mandatory tech expert and a young babe whose job seems to be to look cute ( mission accomplished ). And you can add the elderly owner of the agency and a gorgeous femme-fatale type ( Anne Nakamura ) who provides a surprise at the end.
Each of the six episodes has a different couple, and it's not all frivolous fun; some worthwhile life lessons are presented too. The quality of the writing does vary a bit but the crucial glue binding everything together ( and making the show worth watching ) is the wonderful Ms Takanashi. She's so sweet and cute ! So passionate and emotional ! When the male applicants are introduced she often swoons over their looks, then when they're tarnished with something negative she'll pour scorn with equal energy. Her heart is also made of solid gold.
Wow. Whoever cast this woman deserves a prize.
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