Rating: 3 out of 5.

What works best for 2023 Japanese mini-series ‘Candy Color Paradox’ (also known as ‘Ameiro Paradox’) is its interesting glimpse into how journalists work for gossip magazines in Japan to land their latest scoops. There’s a lot of deception, danger, day-long stalking and often – long thankless nights. Even though the makers do make it seem a little easier and softer than it really is.

Directed by Furumaya Tomoyuki, ‘Candy Color Paradox’ is spread over eight episodes and follows the adventures of Onoe (Kimura Keito), a young serious reporter who is forced to team up with the flirtatiously aloof photographer Kaburagi (Yamanaka Jyutaro) to work on scoops that often involve going undercover or chasing targets. The two couldn’t be more different from each other (both of them are and do look like boy-band members) and behave like rivals despite being on the same team, but as they cover stories together, Onoe finds himself falling in love with the wily photographer.

Wide-eyed Kimura Keito is funny and endearing as the hard-working Onoe who wants to do more hard-hitting stories instead of exposing the secret sex lives of celebrities. Yamanaka Jyutaro’s Kaburagi however is too cliched, the typical romantic lead type featured in Mangas – who is cold on the outside but eventually turns soft –  also known as ‘Tsundere’; however he nails the role of an unscrupulous jaded photojournalist who’d go to any lengths to get the latest exclusive. While the lead actors make for a visually striking pair, their chemistry isn’t great, which could be due to the weak romantic script that’s rife with miscommunication and misunderstandings. The few amorous scenes between the two are awkward, one sequence that could’ve been steamy had Onoe lying like a dead fish. Some of the regular interactions between the two leads are quite entertaining though; maybe they should’ve kept the series completely PG-13.

Izuka Kenta had a riveting cameo as Inami Kei, a top Japanese actor who Onoe and Kaburagi stalk to investigate his love life and eventually uncover an even bigger scandal about his side-dealings. Kenta switches from charming to cunning with ease in his bit part and steals the show during his limited screen-time.   

It’s a 6/10 from me.

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