I was really looking forward to Watashi ga Renai Dekinai Riyuu (The Reason I Can’t Find My Love), though I think it was mostly because I finished Love Shuffle recently and wanted to see Karina and Yoshitaka Yuriko in another potentially interesting romantic drama. Yet, the premise appealed to me, in particularly the friendship between the three women, recalling to mind the k-dramas The Woman Who Still Wants to Marry and I Need Romance, both of which I liked, but could never fully relate to, which I assumed was due to the age factor. Since WatashiRenai has a younger group of women, I thought it would be more up my alley and decided to check it out.
I really like the set-up of the episodes. Each episode opens with a woman typing on a laptop in a library, posing questions about love. The first episode opens with “Are you in love? How many people can say yes when they hear that question?” She then asks, “Why aren’t you in love?” A montage of women of different ages and jobs are shown with the reasons that they aren’t in love, such as work being more interesting or forgetting how to love.
For 26-year-old Fujii Emi (Karina) love is troublesome. Ogura Saki (Yoshitaka Yuriko), 24, doesn’t know real love. Hanzawa Mako (Oshima Yuko), 22, says that people tell her she’s too serious. The three women are high school classmates and after reuniting at a drama club reunion, decide to live together for various reasons (companionship, money, etc.).
Emi works as a stage lighter and is pretty much one of the guys and was even nicknamed ‘aniki’ (older brother), in high school. Though she says that love is troublesome, she’s just hung up over her ex-boyfriend and close friend, Hasegawa Yu (Tanaka Kei). She thinks about getting back together with him after he returns from studying abroad, but unfortunately he’s been dating Hikari (Kurashina Kana), one of the workers who books events for their company while he’s been away and now they’re engaged. Emi thinks she can continue being good friends with Yu, but by the end of the second episode, it’s obvious that Emi can’t settle just for friendship. Luck might be on her side though, since she catches Hikari on an arranged marriage date.
Saki acts sort of like the love guru, giving advice to Emi and Mako about what to do when they have love problems. She tells everyone that she works at a publishing company, but she’s working as a hostess while searching for a job. Being a hostess has made her rather cynical towards ever being in love and she doesn’t take relationships that seriously as she has frequent one-night stands with ‘friends’. Her frivolous attitude towards love makes her clash with the other girls, but Saki really does want an actual relationship, she just doesn’t know how to make it work. She resolves by the end of episode one to find a good guy and is now actively pursuing Shiraishi Takumi (Hagiwara Masato) who, wouldn’t you know it, is married, though Saki is currently unaware.
Then there’s Mako, who was nicknamed ‘Chekhov Mako’ in high school. She’s a normal OL that has a crush on her co-worker Kisaki. A good relationship seems possible between them since Kisaki’s obviously interested, but after Mako doesn’t sleep with him because she’s still a virgin, and she overhears him talking with another guy about how she’s too serious, it looks like it will be hard to win him over. Though she avoids him after the incident at first, she works up some courage to try again after he approaches her and asks to start over as friends. Kisaki isn’t interested in a romantic relationship though, saying that he’s not put off by her being a virgin, but by her personality. Yeah, I don’t really believe that, but whatever eases your conscience dude.
Besides the three housemates, there’s a fourth woman, Shiraishi Misuzu (Inamori Izumi), who is also, you guessed it, Takumi’s wife. The two are business partners; Takumi heads the lighting company that Emi works at while Misuzu is the one that runs the other company that helps book the events. Since Saki’s digging on Takumi and Takumi isn’t pushing her away, Misuzu and Takumi obviously have some problems. Misuzu is pushing for them to move into a house instead of staying in a tiny apartment, but Takumi’s against it. It seems like something small to fight about, but it appears the root of the problem is the fact that Misuzu has always enjoyed being independent which has pushed Takumi away.
As Saki said, “Women’s friendship is thinner than ham.” I like that the women aren’t really good friends already and have only just started living together which means there’s lots of room for growth in their friendship. Yeah, they’ve clashed in both episodes, but it’s brought out all of the insecurities that they probably would have never talked about otherwise, such as Mako being a virgin, Emi still being hung up on Yu, and Saki’s desire to find love.
I’m a sucker for best friends being in love with each other, so I adore the relationship between Emi and Yu. With Hikari going on arranged marriage dates, there’s obviously some problems in her and Yu’s relationship. Even so, Yu seems to have moved on, so I don’t think their relationship will be so easily broken, but I’m sure the show will find a way to unite Emi and Yu in the end. Hopefully.
I know I shouldn’t compare, but Saki’s character is an interesting departure from the man-eater characters in The Woman Who Still Wants to Marry and I Need Romance. Though she has that “love is just a game” attitude and sleeps with guys to kill time, she really wants to find love. When Mako told her she’ll end up broken-hearted if she kept treating love so lightly, it really got to her and I was so happy when she walked away from her usual one-night stand in the second episode, ready to actually put her emotions on the line in a real relationship. That’s why it totally kills me that a guy she sincerely likes is married and I wonder what the backlash will be like when she finds out. Will she just say screw it and be with him anyway or will she try to find a better guy? Instinct says first choice, feelings want second choice.
Overall, I think Watashi ga Renai Dekinai Riyuu is pretty good so far and will happily continue to watch the development of the girls’ friendship and their journey to find love.