Adapted from a Manga written by Yuu Toyota, Sanjūsai made Dōtei Da to Mahōtsukai ni Nareru rashii (Cherry Magic/Cherry Magic! Thirty Years of Virginity Can Make You a Wizard?!) is the story of Kiyoshi Adachi, a thirty-year-old virgin who gains the ability to read the thoughts of those around him. Initially shaken by this newfound power, Adachi is even more surprised when he realizes his co-worker, Yuichi Kurosawa, harbors feelings for him.
—Edited by TheFNGee
Actor Eiji Kaso, first introduced to me in the drama Kamen Rider Build, portrays Kiyoshi Adachi. He does a fantastic job embodying the awkward, shy Adachi, an office worker leading a monotonous life until his thirtieth birthday changes everything.
Actor Keita Machida portrays Yuichi Kurosawa. He is as beautiful as the character he plays, the sophisticated and charming Kurosawa, a popular co-worker of Adachi who has hidden feelings for him.
As a fan of the manga, this live-action Cherry Magic was everything I hoped it would be. Adachi’s messy bed hair and the amount of times he manages to trip in the first episode alone sets an entirely relatable mood. Clumsy and awkward with notable low self-esteem, Adachi is the epitome of the overworked, underappreciated office worker who is often taken advantage of by his co-workers. Constantly, my hands itched to smooth down his hair and straighten his clothes, and I realized right away that this drama was going to be unique simply because Adachi had the power to make me want to take care of him.
The real fun, however, starts the moment Adachi turns thirty. The entire driving plot of this story is that Adachi has managed to remain a virgin for the first thirty years of his life, and because of this, he risked the possibility of enchantment. This virginal magic, which turns out to be the ability to read minds, sets the stage for a show full of fun, laughter, and smiles.
Mind reading is an ability we all wish we had at least once in our lives. How much less complicated would our lives be if we could read the people around us, ascertaining their needs before expressing them? Mind reading would be a massive advantage in this fast-paced world, but it would also be a curse. It’s hard enough for people to like one another daily. If we had to hear each other’s thoughts, it would be chaos. Not only would it be an invasion of privacy, but there’d also be no room for lies. Honesty in and of itself can be as destructive as falsehoods. It all depends on the kind of truth delivered – honesty isn’t always kind.
In Adachi’s case, the thoughts he hears are overwhelming at first, but they aren’t exactly life-changing. After a while, he even manages to settle into a specific routine. He needs to touch people to read their minds, and the most obvious remedy for this is to avoid contact. The assumption is that the ability to hear what everyone is thinking will go away if Adachi has sex, leading to an exciting revelation.
While inside a crowded elevator smashed up against his charming and highly popular co-worker, Kurosawa, Adachi realizes Kurosawa is thinking about Adachi himself – in a very romantic way.
If I’d never read the manga, I would have been just as surprised as Adachi the moment he hears Kurosawa’s loving thoughts. Kurosawa’s character is calm, collected, and popular, with no outward indication that he lusts after Adachi. Kurosawa is friendly to everyone and often sought out by female co-workers.
The elevator changes everything.
My absolute favorite thing about this drama is Kurosawa and his thoughts. He tries so hard to make himself appear unaffected by Adachi, but he’s completely infatuated. He finds Adachi’s bed hair cute, and I stan (verb: to be an overzealous or obsessive fan) a man who values rushed simplicity over perfection. He loves the way Adachi smells, which, of course, made me wonder exactly how Adachi smells. His heart rate increases whenever Adachi is near, and he feels lucky when Adachi is in his presence. Who wouldn’t be swayed by someone who not only desires you but feels fortunate when he’s standing next to you? My heart and soul found everything about this incredibly endearing.
One scene, in particular, stood out for me. Not only was the scene beautifully done, it perfectly portrays what this entire drama is trying to convey. There is absolutely nothing more beautiful to me than when a drama pairs a simple human gesture with realistic, deeply felt dialogue. This scene gave me that.
The background music was soft as Kurosawa wraps a scarf around Adachi’s neck. With each careful tuck, Kurosawa’s thoughts flow out into the space between them.
“Adachi, you rate yourself so low.” (Scarf tuck)
“You always take hints of others and draw yourself back.” (More scarf tucking)
“This morning, you gave up your turn at lift. You don’t look unpleasant when tasks get dumped on you. Actually, you are a really nice guy, and you are thorough in your work.” (One final scarf tuck)
“I think because you are like this, I …” Kurosawa’s thoughts trail off, the last part left unheard as his hands fall away from Adachi’s neck.
These thoughts have an immediate effect on Adachi, and they left a lasting impression on me. Although, as Kurosawa, actor Keita Machida never opens his mouth in this scene, it felt like he did. There was something so vivid about the way he threaded the scarf around Adachi’s neck, his face delivering the emotions needed to express what his thoughts conveyed. It was flawless.
Seeing Adachi’s life through his eyes is somewhat depressing. He doesn’t have a high opinion of himself. Because of this, Kurosawa’s thoughts in this drama are incredibly potent. In fact, they are a treasure. They are poignant moments when we get to experience Adachi viewed through someone else’s eyes. It’s beautiful and heartwarming. For Adachi, he’s never seen himself from that point of view before. It’s the first time he’s felt someone care for him like this, and it tugs on every single heartstring.
Kurosawa is too good to be true, but that’s what makes this drama so refreshing. From the onset, Kurosawa never demands anything from Adachi that Adachi isn’t willing to give. He doesn’t have unrealistic expectations. Kurosawa loves Adachi for the clumsy mess Adachi is. Even when Kurosawa is jealous, he’s careful to keep his jealousy from being harmful to the people around him. With Kurosawa, there are no crazy misunderstandings and no regrets over his actions. Even after discovering Adachi’s ability to read minds, he worries more about Adachi than he does himself.
The real obstacle in this drama is Adachi. Cherry Magic is a perfect example of how insecurity can often stand in the way of personal happiness. Highly notable throughout this entire story arc is Adachi’s facial expressions. In a drama that relies heavily on Adachi’s reaction to voice-over narration and a bombardment of voice-over internal thoughts, actor Eiji Akaso pulls it off seamlessly. Even when he is expressly overdoing it, which is often the case with live-action Japanese romcoms, there’s a real vulnerability to how Eiji Akaso portrays Adachi that speaks to the heart. It’s this vulnerability that kept me from being frustrated with Adachi when he later broke things off with Kurosawa. Adachi had become dependent on his ability to read minds, and he felt it was the magic that kept his relationship with Kurosawa strong rather than his personal attributes. I understood why he broke away – Adachi wanted a relationship built on his own merits rather than an unexpected power.
Speaking of strengths, let’s take a moment to talk about the secondary storylines and characters in Cherry Magic. There is not a single toxic supporting character in this drama. The people surrounding Adachi and Kurosawa are strong, supportive, and a much-needed voice of reason.
Tsuge, Adachi’s close friend, is a shy, awkward writer who finds himself entangled with aspiring dancer and delivery boy, Minato. Like Adachi, Tsuge obtains the ability to read minds on his thirtieth birthday and promptly falls for free-spirited Minato. The difference is that Tsuge, despite his often spastic and nervous responses to Minato, manages to overcome his insecurities. Better yet, Tsuge uses his newfound confidence to counsel Adachi.
The same goes for Kurosawa and Adachi’s clueless and naive co-worker, Rokkaku, and their smart and independent co-worker, Fujisaki. Rokkaku is the type of loyal friend who doesn’t quite understand what’s transpiring around him but still manages to shed helpful light on all situations. Fujisaki is a strong female presence, a character that represents the plight of working women in Japan. She has big dreams but exists under the umbrella of familial obligations and marital expectations. And yet, Fujisaki never bows to those expectations. She pushes Adachi to accept himself, which is a powerful thing coming from an independent female friend who accepts who she is from the beginning of this show.
Color me seriously impressed.
Good music, great acting, well-done scene transitions, and the dark color tones often used in Japanese dramas combine in Cherry Magic in a fun and thoughtful way. Although Cherry Magic is a comedic Japanese BL manga adaptation, it delves beneath the surface humor to tackle the importance of communication, self-acceptance, and honesty in relationships while making the viewers laugh and squeal.
There is nothing I would change about this drama. Although I would have loved to see things more from Kurosawa’s point of view, I like that this drama made Kurosawa as much a gift to the viewer as he was to Adachi. Kurosawa represented the kind of healthy partner we should all strive to find for ourselves.
I didn’t even care that there was no real kiss between the leads. Kisses and sex between Adachi and Kurosawa were implied but never shown. Rather than focusing on the physical aspects, this drama focused on the parts of a relationship needed to make the physical moments stronger. This drama made me feel good, a much-needed feeling nearing the end of 2020.
I have no regrets; this drama makes it onto my 2020 favorites list. I highly recommend it.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars. [See our Review Guide]