Love Village Review 2023 Tv Show Series Cast Crew Online
Love Village opens with a quote from author and artist Tove Jansson that seems designed to express where its heart is at. “You always think your first love is the last, and your last love is the first.” Atsushi Tamura expresses surprise at this “grown-up” tone, and Becky agrees that the show’s contestants are much further along in their life journey than she.
The Gist: As is typical for the reality format in Japan, Love Village features its hosts’ reactions onstage, riffing on all of the action for a studio audience, as well as in a superimposed box on the screen. And as the contestants arrive at the nineteenth century Japanese house that will be their home for the duration of Love Village, Atsushi and Becky point out the obvious. “The grownups are here! There’s an older dude!” At 60, psychologist Johnny is indeed on the senior end of a group that also includes “Hollywood,” a 51-year-old actor, 46-year-old chef “Anchovy” (Japanese shows love their hamfisted contestant nicknames), and business owner Tabo, 35. Opposite the male contestants are Minane, 60, an author; Totchan, 45, a therapist; Yukiemon, 45, a barista; and Okayo, 39, who works in a convenience store. Some of the Love Village-rs have been married before (some more than once), and all stress in confessional cutaways that this show is their best chance to find a later-in-life partner.
With their phones confiscated by the producers, the contestants initially have some quiet time to get to know each other. But they’re also put to work on some light renovation, like replacing the Village house’s set of musty tatami mats and tacking up window netting to keep out bugs. Each housemate has a 30,000 yen food budget, can request personal items via computer, and have access to an onsite vegetable garden for additional meal prep. Anchovy, showing off his cutting and chopping skills in the kitchen on the contestants’ first night together, nevertheless refuses to admit he’s a chef by trade. He says he doesn’t want to be forced to cook all the time. But Atsushi and Becky point out that this will be difficult to sustain if he develops a crush.
If and when a Love Village-r finds their sweetheart, they must ring “the bell of love” to express it publicly, and await their crush’s response. If the match is mutual, the new couple will leave together. But a love denied means the bell-ringer leaves alone and is immediately replaced with a brand-new housemate.
As a comedian whose abrasiveness and sarcasm are part of his schtick, it’s immediately apparent that Love Village wants to present host Atsushi Tamura in a softer light. At least in the early going, he’s not tossing personal jabs at the contestants from his insulated perch on the Village stage. And while Atsushi and Becky both agree that the show’s participants are older than the reality romance average, their remarks feel innocent enough as observations of where the show is coming from. Becky is also happy to call out her cohost, even grabbing his stated opinions on other reality shows and tossing them back in his face. It’s a breezy dynamic between the two, and enjoyable enough that their chatty presence in the superimposed box onscreen becomes a worthwhile part of the Love Village viewing experience.
Bringing in ringers midway through a reality show’s run is also a fun way to keep things interesting, and as Love Village rolls out its nearly 20 half-hour episodes – doesn’t that feel like a lot? – the addition of new housemates as replacements for those either matched or jilted will definitely stir things up. This show does seem more interested in the potential for real romance and valid life partner outcomes for its Village-rs, instead of just seeding its casting group with troublemakers and hookup artists. “Seems,” that is. There is still plenty of potential for heartbreak here, and very public drama – these people are living under one roof, it’s a roof that occasionally leaks, and any eureka moment regarding a new romance must arrive in the form of an out loud bell-ringing declaration. No matter how wholesome its packaging, Love Village is still laced with signature bits of the reliable romance reality format.