JDRAMA REVIEW: LOVE IS PHANTOM (2021)

I am FINALLY getting around to writing my FINAL REVIEW for Love is Phantom even though I finished it a couple of weeks ago. Did you guys watch this drama? My FIRST IMPRESSIONS post has gotten A LOT of love unexpectedly so it seems like a lot of people watched this drama when it aired. If you have not read my FIRST IMPRESSIONS post yet, you can read it right HERE.

*Now as per usual with any review I write, I will not be including any spoilers in this review.*


FOR A QUICK REMINDER:

A QUICK SYNOPSIS OF LOVE IS PHANTOM - Hirasawa Momoko (played by Sakurako Konishi) works in the café of a hotel. One day she meets a mysterious man on the rooftop of the hotel. They kiss in the moment and she can't forget it the next day. She learns that the man is Hase Kei (played by Kiriyama Renn) the elite hotelier who works at the same hotel. This starts off a very mysterious relationship between the two of them.


My overall review of Love is Phantom is I was quite surprised by this drama. I liked it a lot but definitely was surprised by aspects of it. It was a little predictable but that was ok with me. Not every drama has to blow me away. Some things I noticed in my FIRST IMPRESSIONS stayed consistent and I grew to love them even more. If you have not checked this drama out and are looking for an easy watch, give this one a chance.

WHAT I LOVED ABOUT THIS DRAMA

-THE LEADS

As I said in my FIRST IMPRESSIONS, a big draw to this drama were both the leads, Kiriyama Renn and Konishi Sakurako. I am a fan of both of these actors and I was excited to see them act as a couple together in a drama. THEY DID NOT DISAPPOINT! I think they play well off of one another and seem comfortable working together. They portrayed a couple that had easy chemistry between them. I mean the NUMBER of intimate scenes in this drama; I feel like you need a good rapport with your costar to pull that off. I thought they pulled it off quite well and worked well together. I think both characters suited them.


-THE COUPLE

I had A LOT to say about the main couple of this drama in my FIRST IMPRESSIONS and a lot of what I said, HOLDS UP TO THE END! One thing that stayed the same is THE SKINSHIP! This couple was into each other AND THEY SHOWED IT! I loved it. There were a lot of touching and intimate scenes. They were comfortable together and liked being together. The communication was still there throughout as well. I think what I loved most about this drama was Momoko's role in the relationship. She didn't push Kei and was patient. She knew how to read a situation a lot of the times and support him. She was naïve when it came to some social cues but unconsciously knew what to do and supported him. She was calm and patient. She continued to read Kei's character very well and knew him better than he knew himself. That is the type of partner Kei needed in his life because she waited for him to open up or would provide that space for him to open up. It was a comforting thing to watch them be in this space together because by comforting each other, the audience got comforted as well.


-THE STORY

I was a little worried on how this story would pan out in the end. I was pleasantly surprised. It was really sweet. It also did not have a ton of angst which I appreciate a lot when it comes to romance dramas. Nothing drives me more up the wall than unnecessary angst in a romance drama. The story was a little predictable in the second half on where it was going but as I said earlier, that is ok. Other parts of the story were a nice surprise so it was a nice combination of the familiar tropes and surprises.


-THE COLD MALE TROPE

I said in my FIRST IMPRESSIONS post that I was a SUCKER for this trope AND I AM STILL A SUCKER FOR THIS TROPE! Kiriyama Renn played this type of character SO WELL! I would say his character wasn't as cold and prickly as other characters of this trope but I liked that. It was a nice twist. His character was quieter and more reserved instead of cold and stand offish. His character's relationship with Momoko allowed his character to open up and see situations and the world at a different perspective which was fun to watch that unfold. I liked seeing his growth and transformation through this drama.


-THE SECOND MALE LEAD

I was worried about a love triangle in this drama. I am going to say there was a small one and maybe there was even a love square. My worries didn't need to be there though because it turned into nothing. The second male lead actually turned into a really sweet character who protected the female lead. He made sacrifices for her happiness and we loved him for it. I think his character being present in the story allowed Kei to open up and realize his place in his and Momoko's relationship. He came to realize what he wanted out of his relationship with Momoko by his interactions and feelings towards the second male lead. We came to love the second male lead for his sacrifices and not being an obstacle.


-CINEMATOGRAPHY/LIGHTING

I just wanted to make a quick note on the cinematography and lighting of this drama. I thought it had BEAUTIFUL lighting. I mean some of these stills at night that I put in this post should be good examples. I always appreciate Japan's way of shooting their dramas because they are unique among Asian dramas. With how intimate the couple was in this drama; I thought the lighting and cinematography of this drama complimented that very well.

WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER

-THE EPISODE COUNT

I wish this drama had more episodes or the episodes were longer. Now maybe because I enjoyed this drama so much, this is why I wanted more. This reason also ties into the next point I make about plot points too. I just always watched an episode and then after it was over, I was always saying "NOOOOO I have to wait another week for more!"


-PLOT POINTS

By the end of this drama, I felt like I didn't get good closer with some characters. Mostly this drama concentrated on the main couple's relationship but even in that, the story concentrated on the male lead more in my opinion. We learned his backstory and the story was about how he opened up and accepted this new person/relationship in his life. By the end of the drama, I felt I wanted to know more about Momoko and her story. They didn't give us much with her back story. I wanted to know how she came to working at the hotel or her family. The drama was all about Kei's story and family. The drama also left us a little hanging on what would happen with a lot of the side characters like the second male lead or the bartender. I get it, you only had 10 episodes and could only tell one story but I still had a curiosity about some things by the end.


Rating: 8.5/10 (Streaming on VIKI now)

If you are curious about my reaction to the drama IN REAL TIME - here is my tweets/watch thread for the drama

Have you seen Love Is Phantom?

What did you think of the drama?

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LET ME KNOW ON TWITTER OR INSTAGRAM OR IN THE COMMENTS BELOW!

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