Jdrama review: Coffee and Vanilla

Okay, I think I've seen this before, I told myself as I watch the cringe-y monologue of the female lead. Enter the mighty good-looking super young self-made CEO. Yes, I've seen this before, everything is oh-so-familiar. Then the first declaration of love happened before the first episode ends. 

It clicked!

It's the many Wattpad stories I've edited in the past.

I stumbled upon a 60-second clip of this drama on Instagram, and that scene made me think maybe this is another professor-student romance akin to Do Min Joon and Cheon Song Yi's initial relationship, although the title makes me think of Christian and Anastasia. And because I love My Love From The Star to the moon and back, I decided maybe I also need to watch this. But no, Google tells me its premise is nothing near the story of the mysterious 400-year-old alien and his famous celebrity neighbor. Coffee and Vanilla is a cringe-worthy, toe-curling drama that kept me up the whole night.

The cringe-worthy female lead

Risa Shiroki (Haruka Fukuhara) is popular among the boys because she is pretty. I'll give that to her but what are you gonna do with a pretty girl who cannot do anything for herself? She cannot even say "no" properly to that boy who forces her to go with him. I get that she's coming from the countryside, but she's 20 and she's living in the city on her own so why can't she take care of herself? Sakura Nanase (Love Lasts Forever) is a countryside girl too, and she's bold and totally independent. And who goes to dinner in a lavish place with a random stranger and drinks alcohol for the first time? Girl, please set the bar higher for the younger ladies out there. Please don't allow them to think that it's okay to just smile and be cute and sweet because some rich guy in a 3-piece suit would come running and save them because the world doesn't work like that. I might be watching fiction and I low-key hate it when it imitates life too closely but c'mon! At least, give us something more relatable. 

The toe-curling male lead 

Hiroto Fukami (Dori Sakurada) is a self-made CEO at 30, mysterious and drop-dead gorgeous. I'd love to know how he made it to the top, and I won't even say no to another episode or two if only to find out how severely checkered his past is that he wanted so bad to keep Risa out of it. By the looks of it, he must have had a lot of ladies on his knees - his lips and hands appear too skilled to even think he's a virgin and that's what made him toe-curling. But what made him fall in love with a university student? Was it because she was pretty and naive and that he likes girls who'd bow down to him? Maybe? Or maybe Risa is really soft-hearted by nature, and that is something anyone could really die for. But to me, he appears to be a things-should-go-my-way type of guy - a bit supportive but intimidating altogether. He's just too good to be true that even the romance writer in me is having a hard time believing he exists. 

So, what's the story?

I wouldn't say that the plot is ridiculous - it actually has a good premise but it lacks in execution. Like I said, I wouldn't mind another couple of episodes to reveal Fukami-san's past. Takaaki Akutsu (Mario Kuroba) looks like a gang member, rough and a little bit too harsh who knew how to show his power over women, so was it possible that maybe they did illegal things together like maybe, drugs and murder and being too cute to be true? And when it came to the point that Risa finally has the chance to redeem herself, she just continues being the useless thing that she is and if not for Hiroto who magically appeared out of nowhere, we would never know where she's gonna be now. 

So why did I finish the drama? I gave it a chance. I wanted to know if, in the end, Risa would do some character development and shield Hiroto from a bullet coming from an enemy or a business rival. I was way too curious about Hiroto's past that maybe chapter 10 would finally reveal it. Was I happy with the ending? Well, let's just say that the entire drama allowed me to escape reality that night. And in all honesty, spending the night with Dori Sakurada wasn't so bad that I craved more of him.

Should you watch it?

You need a quick escape from reality, this one is for you. You want to see some toe-curling events, watch this drama. But please allow your logic and reasoning to wander a little bit while watching, for that maximum experience. 

The morning after.