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‘Kabe Koji’ Review – Amusing Manga Adaptation

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One is a pessimistic obsessive manga writer, the other’s a sugary sweet pop idol, the two couldn’t be more different, yet, when Mamoru and Issei cross paths after years, a chaotic connection is re-established.

Adapted from a Japanese manga series of the same crazy long name – ‘Kabe Sa Doujin Sakka no Neko Yashiki-kun wa Shouninyokkyuu wo Kojiraseteiru’, the show stars Matsuoka Koudai as broody asocial manga artist Mamoru and Nakao Masaki plays rising singer Issei who admires the former’s work. The plot is goofy – the two protagonists like each other but aren’t able to vocalize their emotions clearly, as Mamoru always pushes Issei away due to low self-esteem issues.

Spread over eight episodes, the series is low-key hilarious, but Mamoru as a character was a little extreme in his negative emotions and should ideally have been seeing a therapist. Or perhaps he cannot afford one. To Matsuoka Koudai’s credit, he slips into the skin of the self-loathing artist brilliantly! Makao Masaki’s Issei is on the other side of the spectrum – he is inhumanely good-humored, sweet and resilient. He is the kind of character viewers want protected at all costs, a completely adorable human-shaped puppy. Yahagi Honoka is cheery as the energetic Yamada Kohari – Mamoru’s friend/manager/motivator/cheerleader, she is there for him whenever he starts slipping into an abyss of self-doubt and hatred. Her character provides some good laughs through the runtime.”Am I a background character in a BL?” she asks in a scene, when she witnesses Issei’s affection for Mamoru.

Like a lot of Manga adaptations, this one too exists in its own bubble and the cinematography gives everything a nostalgic tone. Since it’s a kooky romantic-comedy, one wishes Mamoru and Issei had more definitive moments together or at least a decent length conversation, instead, Japanese pop-idol culture and how the media hounds celebrities gets more screen space. Regardless, the climax was uplifting, with the plot coming to a full circle, ending in a cute scene quite similar to how their story begins! There is an end credit scene too, so watch it.

It’s a 7/10 from me.

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