Bambino!

“Guys who don’t focus on the work in front of them don’t have the right to talk about their dreams.”

Bambino!

Episodes: 11
Genre: Cooking, drama
Year: 2007
Starring: Matsumoto Jun, Karina, Sato Ryuta, Uchida Yuki, Kitamura Kazuki, Komatsu Ayaka

Rating: 8/10

On the quest to watch dramas from MatsuJun’s backlist, I came across Bambino! I put off watching it at first; although the concept sounded intriguing, I had other things I wanted to watch more. But when I came back and revisited the idea, I saw Karina and Ayaka Komatsu both starred in the drama. Count me in!

Shogo Ban is a cocky, enthusiastic student who works in a small Italian restaurant in Fukuoka. Encouraged by his boss, he heads to Tokyo to perfect his cooking in Italian cuisine. But not everything is smooth sailing for this country boy. The upscale Baccanale is way above his level, and a kitchen of ambitious chefs stand in the way of his success. Ban has much to learn, fast.

Pros
Of course, MatsuJun! ❤ He takes the character of Ban and melds it into perfection. He gets the emotional punch just right, and its fun listening to his Italian. You just can’t help but root for him! I couldn’t ask for a better actor to play our young hero.

I love the nickname head chef/owner Tekkan gives Ban: the titular ‘Bambino’ (Bambi for short). It’s just so fitting for Ban—it means ‘baby’ in Italian. It captures his bumbling nature, conveying the essence of the drama.

The plot moves along at a steady pace, throwing us in interesting directions. We see Baccanale from the perspective of both the chefs and the wait staff. I think this is what gives the drama more depth; other cooking dramas would not take the time to focus on the other side of things. But here it plays an important role.

I absolutely adore Baccanale. The restaurant is so…swank. I’d love to dine in this upper-class place! ^o^

And the food! My mouth is watering just thinking about it. The cast must’ve gotten a few kilos heavier eating all that deliciousness! I was so happy when Ban got to work in dolce. We get a close-up look of some wonderful desserts. Sheer bliss!

Karina is wonderful as always, and I’m glad Ayaka got a fairly big role in this drama. All too often she is shoved into the periphery, but she actually gets a heap of screentime, especially towards the end. Yay! Ever since she played Sailor Venus in PGSM, she’s been a favourite of mine.

Kitamura Kazuki is brilliant as head waiter Yonamine. Suave charm practically radiates from him *swoon*. And the extra eye candy doesn’t hurt, no matter his age.

I think my viewing of Bambino! was enhanced by my own experience in a restaurant. I worked as a waitress and bartender in a hotel restaurant, so I know the ins and outs of restaurants, from the floor to the kitchen. Bambino! captures this lifestyle impeccably well. The only point I question is that Ban has to wash all the dishes by hand. Why do they not have a person whose job is to wash the dishes? Or even just a dishwasher, for that matter.

Ah, well. Maybe they do things differently in Japan…?

Cons
I consider the lack of romance to be a negative point. I like my dramas to have a touch of romance, but sadly, this isn’t a focus in Bambino! Although, I’m kinda glad Ban doesn’t end up with his former girlfriend Eri; I didn’t particularly like the actress, or her character. Was she meant to look older than Ban? O.o

Hmm… Yeah, that’s probably my only con.

Oh, thought of another. The theme song “We Can Make It” by Arashi—I can’t stand it. Which is weird, because they sing it so beautifully. My problem with it is that it uses the tune from “Love is All Around”. At first it’s cute, but then it starts to grate on you that the lyrics just aren’t right. Maybe I’m just being picky…

Opinion
This is a great drama, with a good focus on cooking, and has a great message to convey without bashing you over the head with it. Everyone can find something of themselves in Ban; we are all bumbling bambinos.

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