Hi. I’m Benjamin Wagner, this is my blog and today I… introduce you to one of the greatest members that ever graced the Terrace House.
Moving on from the slow but engaging start to the Terrace House monolith, Season 2 is where this show really begins to find its feet. Sure, the show does continue to progress and build in the following seasons, but you can see that the crew and those involved with the show were becoming confident in what they were creating. Plus, the arrival of some new members makes the show feel fresh again and kicks it in third gear. So, much like the previous post, I am going to go over the big talking points of this series and let you know what I thought about them. We good? Then let’s get it on.
A chirpy gyaru model who is surprisingly homely and well-put-together emotionally. Honestly, it is hard to contain how much I enjoy Hana as a person. Sure, she fits my niche in terms of appearance. But besides that, she is such a grounded, upbeat person who is willing to help others and work hard for herself. Uncompromising and just really, really great.
First Impression: I really like gyaru. (A heavy-makeup, western inspired style of dress that is a popular subculture in Japan). Hana is a gyaru. I have a bias here which allows me to overlook the glaring similarities between her and Seina.
A professional kickboxer looking to experience love and companionship as he proceeds to his title fight. At first glance, it appears he just entered the house to raise the profile of kickboxing a little bit but he becomes much more than that as the season grows. His likability and his blossoming friendship with Tecchan make him one of the stars of the season. Plus, his friend Raoumaru is such a sweetheart.
Plus-Plus he can pull off wearing a flat cap without looking like a farmer. Respect.
First Impressions: The nice guy who is fighting to achieve his dreams.
Iwanaga Tetsuya (Ouji):
A chemist and part-time model. He supposedly looks like a prince so they call him Ouji (literally, Prince).
First Impressions: Creepy. Weird. Unique. Very interested in this guys future. (And boy, I was both wrong and right about this guy).
The forgettable one leaves. I mean, I explained at the end of the first season how little of an impact he made on the house and as soon as this began, he was out the door. I mean, the best scene he was involved with was him sitting around the dinner table with the rest of the housemates. He is relaxed, funny and comes across as a nice guy. I just wish we saw more out of him, really.
Seina and Masato’s Soap Opera continues
The seeds from the first series sprout into a new piece of seemingly scripted yet probably not scripted drama. The way Seina’s life seems to become a classic drama at every turn is both captivating and irritating all at once. Despite my reservations about her as a person, here she just comes across as human. This Seina seems confused and as this season goes on, and her wait for Masato continues, she struggles with this relationship and other parts of her life. This all comes to a head during one particular scene.
The big scene in question in which the on-off romance peaks was a special goodbye at an airport. Masato asks Seina to wait for him and she shyly agrees before they hug and part. This scene seems fake but also real at the same time. A weird paradox, I know but one that I still think about on occasion.
On this airport scene once more, even my cynical self can see the flicker of romance here and I felt that, despite seeming as if it would fit perfectly in an episode of Friends, it was genuinely touching and also genuinely genuine. I may not be a big fan of Seina but even I warmed to her here. She seemed like a normal girl beginning to be overwhelmed by job troubles and an unclear relationship with the guy she likes. Honestly, my knowledge of what comes later has tainted what is in actuality a really nice scene, and I can see how a new first-time watcher going in fresh would really support this pairing going forward. And, well, it’s pretty iconic, isn’t it? Most of us will never have a moment like this in our lives so seeing it play out in front of us in such a real way is a rare treat.
Before moving on, I just want to comment a little on Seina as a person. As I have said, I am really not a big fan of hers. However, Episode 16 shows Seina’s truly human side; worrying about her future as a model and what her being on Terrace House is actually doing for her as a person. This is expanded on and her way of dealing with this and bouncing back from this, is inspiring and even endeared me to her a little more. Of course, as Seina’s prominence grew with the show, she became a different person that I simply don’t gel with, but the culmination of early days Seina ends in a scene that I simply can’t get enough of. Well done Seina. +1 point.
Hana and Dyki’s Rocket Romance
This is it. The big draw in this season of the show. The first real romance. Hana entered the house early this season and, with the only viable man there being Tecchan, she saw her romantic possibilities as low if not non-existent with the young-naive wannabe firefighter/actor/freeloader. So, when Dyki arrived, all the girls squealed as a manly man entered the room. The initial meeting between the two sowed the seeds for what was to come, with Hana unable to keep eye contact with the smouldering Dyki. Whilst acting as a wingman and also shooting himself in the foot, Tecchan played his part in pushing the two together and recommending they spend time together as the two newbies. Their first date simply involves the likeable pair getting to know each other as they explore their new surroundings. From a layman’s point of view, you could see the chemistry and the raw attraction between the fledgling couple. Dyki’s ability to take the mick out of himself and Hana’s openness and cheery persona just clicked in such a natural way.
I am sure that there was still a little bit of the two wishing to put the best face on for the cameras, but, the way I see it, it would be very difficult for a sportsman and a model to fake the connection they had. The vibes, if I were to quote Hana. These vibes meant little Tecchan’s on-camera confession to Seina simply didn’t matter as Hana’s feelings were already very much in Dyki’s corner.
Poor Tecchan. He never stood a chance.
From Hana and Dyki’s first date, little moments peppered the season as their attraction towards one another grew. As Dyki prepared and slimmed down for his big kickboxing match, Hana made him calorie-conscious meals to help him. Dyki’s smile is infectious and when the two are together, they appear as if they are a couple that has been with each other for years.
And then we reach the scene. The confession scene. In Japan, the confession of your love is a big deal. The big show of affection to win over your crush is one often seen in most Japanese media is very much on show here. After winning the RISE kickboxing title for the first time and becoming the champion, Dyki sits down in the stadium he had just been fighting in, a pretty girl by his side and, as he puts it, he fights his second match of the day. And, as Hana replies, he is 2-2. He confesses, she says yes, they kiss and the scene is splendid. This little romantic pairing is what Terrace House is about in a nutshell. Yes, there can be friendship, there can be drama and fights but, broken down to its base form, Terrace House is about young love. And this is the poster child for young love.
And it’s beautiful.
In terms of personality and being ‘real’, Momo is the star of early Terrace House. She seems to be a person who very much moves to the beat of her own drum but is also Tecchan’s biggest pillar of support. Whilst her career goals all seem a little muddled as she does everything from DY-ing to writing lyrics and writing articles, she really is giving it everything she’s got. She’s endearing and still as real as the moment she stepped into the house. Her ability to adapt to the changing dynamic was also impressive, something I doubt I could manage and I am just a big Momo fan.
Also, she confessed to Ouji as she left; she really does go at her own pace.
Tetsuya’s New Career Goals
He failed the exam to become a firefighter in S1 E5, but this failure led to Tecchan looking to find a new goal to pursue. As season 2 progresses, we see that he is making concerted strides to attempt to enter the world of acting. I don’t want to kick the poor guy but here you can see he really lacks a lot of experience and is very, very rough. Starting from almost zero in a profession is undoubtedly going to be a tough ask and Tecchan attempts to struggle against the tide here. We also see the introduction of his part-time job and boss, a man me and my friends affectionately call ‘The Sage’, but he will be brought up in a later article.
Back to our little struggling actor, I did find the scene where Tecchan is asked to do vocal exercises interesting; lying on your back whilst balancing a bottle on his stomach to increase his vocal range was odd to see but also an insight into a world I used to be interested in getting into. Not really relevant to Terrace House as a show, but I found it interesting regardless.
Triendl as co-commentator:
Alongside YOU as a presenter, the show decided to give her a co-host; model and actress Reina Triendl. Whilst not adding much just yet, her presence does signal where the show is going in terms of commenting on the action in small intervals, as her and YOU are much more chatty about the show as we cut from scene to scene. Both seem comfortable with each other and themselves to discuss this gripping reality television that is put in front of them.
The Show grows in confidence:
What I mean by this is the way that this show is presented has become much… slicker. It still isn’t the titan it will later become, but I will elucidate my point… with evidence.
Episode 16 is where Seina has her mini-career meltdown. To exemplify and amplify this, the showrunners precede this with a little montage of Momoko, Hana and Dyki working successfully in their fields of interest and this success worries Seina. The way in which this has all been put together is just beautifully done and explains Seina’s concerns and worries without her even having to open her mouth.
Ouji & Seina:
This one is only a short footnote because it only really becomes apparent in the final episode of the season, but Ouji says he has strong feelings for Seina.
I don’t believe him.
I think that he is good looking, he chose the most attractive girl (to him) and decided that he was owed her. Despite Seina saying she was waiting for Masato, Ouji’s soft-spoken words belied a strong, passionate straightforwardness that powered him towards his goal of getting in Seina’s pants. I don’t really understand why I find this all so unbelievable; maybe because the only two other scenes we saw them interact was her compliment his drawing of characters from One Piece and then a scene where he told her he was playing classic children’s game ‘Where’s Wally?’.
Weird guy. I’m not sure what his angle was here but, in my experience, telling a girl you like them whilst barely speaking to them, doesn’t end well. I must have done that 15 times when I was at school and, although it worked once, that barely lasted 3 days anyway. Nope. Ouji’s approach skills need more work.
And, that is that on another season of Terrace House. A lot has changed, as the show has its first couple and, as they decided to stay for a while longer, the house dynamic changes once again. Tecchan found himself rejected for the second time. The show got a new host. We lost our guiding star Momoko and gained a weird, creepy pharmacist. And, with the hole left by Momoko still open, a new housemate will be on the horizon. And, what that will bring will be discussed next time, but for now, I’ve been Benjamin Wagner and I approve this message.
Terrace House Boys X Girls Next Door S2: 8.4/10- Hana and Dyki’s romance top off an interesting and more comfortable with itself Terrace House.