The casting directors for the Japanese BL series struck gold by picking Eiji Akaso and Keita Machida for the lead roles of Adachi & Kurosowa respectively. It’s probably the first time that the live-action remake of a comic has better looking actors than their artistic/unreal counterparts. The lead cast is so charming that I’ve seen every episode twice each week a new episode came out – the first time without any subtitles and the second time with English subtitles.
Based on the manga called “Cherry Magic! Thirty Years of Virginity Can Make You a Wizard?!”, the plot follows the story of a shy, hard-working Adachi (Eiji Akaso), who gains the magical power of reading minds by touching people after he turns 30. Due to this strange new power, he finds out that the handsome heartthrob of their office Kurosawa (Keita Machida) has a massive crush on him. How will deal with this new revelation and his bizarre powers forms the rest of the story.
Eiji Akaso is adorable as the bumbling Adachi, who despite being a hard-working employee has low self-esteem issues. Keita Machida is equally good as the dashing Kurosawa, with a blinding smile that has all the office girls weak in their knees. Most of the story unfolds in an office set-up, which was a refreshing change from all the college fluff such series are filled with. There are lot of plot devices that give foreign viewers a look into the Japanese way of life and their work culture.
The lead Adachi is very relatable as the overworked 30-year-old who has never had any time for love or sex, he follows the same mundane routine every day, orders from the same place and eats the same things. The magical twist in the tale turns his life upside down and the makers bring it out hilariously. Viewers are informed of a Japanese urban legend according to which those who remain virgins till they are 30 gain magical powers.
As Adachi tries to keep the mind-reading to a minimum, we get to know more about the people in his life. While I haven’t seen a lot of Japanese dramas, all the characters in this series are positive and there is zero toxicity displayed throughout the course of the 12 episodes. Adachi’s best-friend Tsuge (Akasa Kodai) offers comic relief as a lone-writer, who lives with a cat and crushes on a delivery boy.
While the story seems a fluffy romantic tale on the surface, with a very neat and near-perfect climax, ‘Cherry Magic’ does delve into deeper themes, like the insecurities and anxieties that plagues the generation that has become too reliant on technology. In a world where everything seems to be a click away, where nothing is too far out of our reach, it’s our inner demons that hold us back from accomplishing our dreams. Adachi could’ve found love without his ‘magic’, but his low self-esteem acts as shackles against a world of possibilities. The series also casts light on office politics and how even young men can be exploited for their good looks, a theme that is rarely seen in media.
I thoroughly enjoyed watching all the episodes of this heart-warming series. Eiji Akaso and Keita Machida are absolutely endearing as an onscreen couple. Despite the leads being 30-year-olds, their romance has the innocence of a blooming college love story. Nothing is rushed in their world, thing build up slowly & steadily, but not once does the viewer feel the urge to hit the fast-forward button. On the contrary, ‘Cherry Magic’ has a very high re-watch value and on the day the last episode aired, I had already seen the series twice.
This is a 9/10 for me – entertaining, endearing and just one of the nicest things to come out in 2020!