Real Clothes: The Devil Wears Prada as a Japanese TV Series

Real Clothes was a Japanese TV Drama series that played last fall. Starting on October 13th, its last episode aired on December 22nd, a few days before Christmas, and just a little more than two months ago. The DVD  will be released in the middle of next week on March 3rd. Simply described, the story has everything you ever wanted to know about high fashion or more exactly – it is about selling high fashion which is really the selling of dreams.

Karina has the lead role and is just one of many Japanese beauties lighting up the screen in this 11 episode series. She does a superb job as Kinue Amano, a girl who was doing quite well selling bedding in the fictional Echizenya Department Store in Tokyo. Then one day she finds she’s been transferred to the Women’s Clothing Department.

Karina as plain Jane – Kinue Amano in Episode One

Kinue is clumsy, klutzy, and without any fashion sense what so ever. That’s her in the above picture by the River Seine in Paris, France which is where the series begins. She’s  just like the Andy Sachs character in The Devil Wears Prada. Her new boss is Chief Manager Miki Jinbo who is played by Hitomi Kuroki, and this role is styled to be like Meryl Streep as the world’s numero uno fashionista, Miranda Priestly, in TDWP.  So the stage is set. This looks like it is going to be The Devil Wears Prada remake Japanese style.

Hitomi Kuroki as Chief Manager Miki Jinbo

But this is a series, not a two-hour story for a single movie. So they had to open it up, give more characters more depth and bigger parts as well as adding in the department store wars. Think Nieman Marcus vs Bloomingdales vs Bergdorf-Goodman.

Plenty of nice threads to see, and these are worn by some of Japan’s most beautiful actresses. So even if high fashion isn’t your cup of cha, watching beautiful women is what you get week after week in this series.

Specifically, Kinue’s task is that she must attempt to balance her workload, her relationship of 8 years with her boyfriend, and navigate her way through the minefield of satisfying a very tough boss. It is a lot to put on anyone ‘s plate, and when you factor in that she knew nothing about style or fashion, the task seemed even harder.

As the series progresses, and Kinue grows personally, professionally, and of course , at the same time she becomes much more stylish,  the story seems to veer away sharply from TDWP model.

I think if you decide to watch this, just don’t expect TDWP. Even with the similarities and the fact that it starts as if it would be the same it simply wasn’t the same.

As a guy, I’m not particularly interested in fashion as a topic. Nor am I knowledgable. I couldn’t tell you one designer’s style from another. They’re just names to me. But I did see TDWP back in 2006 in the company of a woman who worked for a major Chinese fashion magazine, and I liked it so I thought I’d give this series a chance.

Karina as Kinue Amano now dressed to excite anyone

You should consider this one as there’s plenty of eye candy in this show.

To borrow Miki Jinbo’s trademark phrase in the series- Kekko! (Fine!)

Elegant and stylish

I thought this was a fine series which seemed to hit a lot of different areas – success in the work place but not without a struggle for some; and broken hearts or broken dreams for others, and so forth. The ensemble cast was really good.

It played well as a drama, as a comedy, and as a life-affirming story. The only department that it failed in, and this was done intentionally, was the romance department.

It’s not as if it tried and failed, the romance had to be jettisoned otherwise the character of Kinue could not have grown in multiple spheres of her life.

Nice to look at, entertaining, and at times a lot of fun. I liked it. A lot.

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