Naked Dining is a Japanese BL series about two men and their culinary adventures. The main character visits his grandmother's countryside home after she passes away. He meets her young protégé, who teaches him many recipes. They enjoy making tasty delicacies from different countries. Despite their friendship, the protagonist hides an unusual habit from his acquaintance. He is a secret nudist who enjoys eating meals in the buff.
Although Naked Dining has an eccentric premise, the novelty runs out quickly. It settles into a cozy, middle-of-the-road BL drama with minimal emphasis on nudity. Some storylines have compelling messages, especially when highlighting different cuisine or cultures from around the world. Yet, other plots are cliched and forgettable. The uninspiring romance takes too long to develop and suffers from many needless obstacles.
Naked Dining Summary
Ichijou is a well-liked office worker who lives in the city. After his grandmother passed away last year, he recently received a time capsule letter from her. She wants him to visit her home and retrieve some of his old belongings. Ichijou follows her advice and arrives at the deserted countryside home. The nostalgic visit evokes fond memories of Ichijou's grandmother, who used to be an excellent cook.
While browsing his childhood mementoes, Ichijou is shocked when an intruder arrives at the home. Ichijou almost attacks the stranger, identifying him as a burglar. However, Mahiro clears the misunderstanding and introduces himself as a friend. Ichijou's grandmother, Mizuchi, had a close bond with Mahiro. She taught him cooking lessons, like a protégé. She also gave him spare keys to the house. After her death, Mahiro occasionally visits to keep the place tidy.
Mizuchi used to dream of travelling the world to taste different cuisines. After her health deteriorated, she couldn't go outside anymore. Ichijou is surprised. Although he communicated with his grandmother through video calls, he didn't know about her knee problems. He feels guilty about not caring for her. Despite her ailment, Mizuchi maintained her adventurous spirit in the kitchen. She liked to cook food from different countries and passed these recipes to Mahiro.
Ichijou wants to cook one of his grandmother's recipes. He buys ingredients at the local grocery store, which Mahiro owns after inheriting it from his mom. His friend, Ryu, also works at the store. Mahiro knows a lot about the different foods and helps Ichijou shop for the ingredients. After returning home, Ichijou prepares the meal. However, he has an eccentric habit. Ichijou likes to strip naked before every meal. Eating in the nude is relaxing and gives him a sense of liberation.
Since Ichijou is alone at his grandmother's home, he undresses and enjoys the meal without clothes. Yet, Mahiro suddenly arrives at the house unannounced. Both are shocked to see each other. Mahiro feels awkward about seeing his acquaintance in the nude and makes a hasty exit. Ichijou feels embarrassed that someone has discovered his secret quirk. This encounter causes uneasiness between them when they meet again.
Naked Dining Trailer
Naked Dining Cast
Shori Kondo (近藤頌利)
Ichijou is a well-liked office employee who lives in the city. His colleagues praise him for his work ethic. A while ago, his beloved grandmother passed away. After visiting her countryside home, he befriends Mahiro and the other small-town residents. Ichijou has a secret quirky habit. He enjoys dining in the nude.
Goto Yutaro (後藤優太朗)
Mahiro is a grocery store owner who lives in a small town in the countryside. He inherited the shop from his mother. Mahiro is close with Ryu, one of his employees. Mahiro used to take cooking lessons from Ichijou's grandmother, almost like her protege. She taught him about recipes from around the world. After her death, he still tidies up her house occasionally.
Goto Yutaro (後藤優太朗) is a Japanese actor, also known as just Yutaro. He is born on June 3, 1998. His first BL project is the 2020 BL drama, Cherry Magic. He also appeared in the 2022 movie sequel. Yutaro stars in the 2023 series, Naked Dining.
Judy Ongg (翁倩玉)
Figaro Tseng (曾少宗)
Yuki Katayama (片山友希)
So Yamanaka (山中聡)
Hiroaki Oka (岡宏明)
Souta Uemura (植村颯太)
Tasuku Maekawa (前川佑)
Shun Honda (本田旬)
- Mahiro's actor (Goto Yutaro) has a supporting role in the popular 2020 Japanese series Cherry Magic. He also appears in the movie sequel Cherry Magic: The Movie.
- Ryu's actor (Figaro Tseng) starred in the 2014 Taiwanese gay movie That Room.
- The actor who portrays Teshigawara (So Yamanaka) has a supporting role in the 2019 series Mood Indigo.
Naked Dining Review
Drama Review Score: 6.8
Naked Dining grabs your attention with an eccentric premise. Not many stories feature a quirky protagonist who enjoys meals in the buff. Yet, nudity only plays a small role in the story. After the novelty wears off, the series follows a traditional narrative with familiar plots. The early episodes give gentle, relaxing vibes. The leads bond pleasantly in the calm countryside setting. They have harmonious exchanges, from casual chats to cozy cooking lessons. Despite its unusual start, Naked Dining is surprisingly down-to-earth.
I respect the story's meaningful messages about open-mindedness. Mahiro doesn't limit his views despite living in a small town. He embraces diverse cultures and introduces foreign cuisine to others. As the characters enrich their knowledge and perspectives, exploring the world isn't confined to a physical journey. Likewise, the series draws clever parallels between Ichijou's nudism and his repressed feelings. In both cases, he learns to be comfortable in his skin, liberating himself from his insecurities. Naked Dining shows moments of brilliance with insightful themes.
Unfortunately, Naked Dining often rehashes overused tropes. Some storylines, like love triangles, secret crushes, or misunderstandings, seem typical. I can guess how each scene unfolds since it always mirrors predictable cliches. The romance also stagnates, stalling time with mild-mannered interactions. The tedious relationship drama worsens during the second half. Expect annoying issues or needless conflicts that separate the couple. After a while, the lack of excitement sets in. Naked Dining falls into a dull rhythm and doesn't compel me to watch the next episode.
Ichijou and Mahiro are an incompatible couple, sharing little chemistry from start to finish. They underwhelm me during many milestones in their romantic journey. Their first kiss occurs under iffy circumstances and causes confusion than elation. Similarly, the love confession scenes are tense and generate much frustration. The prolonged relationship drama becomes unbearable in the last few episodes. Shimizu is a pesky love rival, but I despise how Ichijou treats her. He behaves despicably and exploits her feelings, souring my opinion of his character.
The actors (Shori Kondo & Goto Yutaro) appear comfortable in their roles. They give suitable emotional responses to each corresponding scene. However, they don't share an on-screen spark. In terms of conveying their attraction to one another, they haven't persuaded me. The story does them no favours, constantly manufacturing drama to separate the couple. Also, their high school connection feels randomly tacked on. Ichijou and Mahiro don't bring a sense of romantic fantasy. Secretly, I prefer Ryu better as a love interest and ship him with either of the leads.
Naked Dining has a happy ending that unites the leads after resolving their last-minute disagreement. Despite their reconciliation, the couple doesn't seem right for each other. After investing five hours into this romance, I still don't care about them. My indifference extends to the rest of this middle-of-the-road series. The story touches upon a few topics that interest me, but they get overshadowed by other annoyances. Overall, Naked Dining seems bland and dispensable. Like a dish without a defining ingredient, it lacks a unique flavour to stand out in the BL genre.
Naked Dining has a cozy, relaxing start. The story occasionally explores a few insightful themes with meaningful messages. Yet, it also relies on many predictable cliches that don't inspire enthusiasm.
The couple underwhelms me during many milestones in their romantic journey. From iffy kisses to tense confessions, I don't care about their dull and prolonged relationship drama.
Although the actors do an acceptable job with their roles, they share no chemistry. The performers cannot convey the characters' attraction to each other. They don't seem in love.
Naked Dining has a happy ending that resolves the couple's miscommunication. The series can't help itself and indulges in another unnecessary conflict, even in the finale.
The series has a cozy countryside atmosphere, complementing the gentle tone of the narrative. I enjoy how the story embraces diverse cultures as it takes time to introduce foreign cuisine.
Naked Dining is a mediocre BL drama with cliched plots and an uninspiring romance. Despite a few insightful messages, I don't care about the incompatible couple or their dull relationship drama.
Naked Dining Episodes
Naked Dining has a total of 12 episodes. Each episode is around 24 minutes long. It is a long BL drama, and you can finish the entire series in under 5 hours. Naked Dining started on April 14, 2023 and ended on June 30, 2023.
The premiere is cozy and relaxing. The nude dining is an unusual character quirk, piquing my interest. I wonder how much nakedness there will be. Are the others gonna strip too? OMG.
The series captures the hilarious awkwardness of seeing an acquaintance naked. Despite the embarrassment, I like how the characters respond and move past the scandal maturely.
I like the cozy countryside setting, cute cooking lessons, and gentle bonding scenes. With that said, the series lacks excitement. The story doesn't grab me after the novelty of ~naked dining~ wears off.
I like how the story introduces cuisine from around the world. The characters don't just cook everyday recipes. Instead, they explore and embrace diverse cultures, which is a nice touch!
Ichijou and Mahiro cooking homemade meals for the boss is a cute subplot. I like whenever the series combines food and romance in the storyline, which feels relevant to its themes.
The first kiss should fill a BL drama with vivid emotions, yet I feel nothing. Also, Ichijou doesn't even remember if it happened or not. It doesn't feel like a credible kissing scene.
Ryu gives a moving speech. I respect how the series addresses sexuality candidly, weaving it into the relationship drama. I like that Ryu's experiences help Ichijou come to terms with his feelings.
Ugh, don't reject him! Mahiro's behaviour is frustrating! Ichijou finally reciprocates the feelings, yet Mahiro's insecurities get in the way. I secretly ship Ryu with either lead character.
Can Shimizu recognize she's in a BL drama and please go away? Tying Ichijou's repressed feelings to his naked dining is clever. I see the parallels and appreciate this metaphor.
The relationship drama is irritating. How many love rivals and misunderstandings does this story need!? I also dislike how Ichijou treats Shimizu and exploits her feelings. Be honest with yourself!
I'm glad this episode resolves all the annoying conflicts. Shimizu handles her rejection gracefully. Also, Ryu's translation mistake is funny. It shows more creativity than a generic misunderstanding.
The last-minute drama irritates me. The series constantly goes out of its way to create conflict between the couple. That said, I enjoy the sentimental message of exploring the world from a small town.
Naked Dining Information
Ayaka Kato (加藤綾佳) is a Japanese director. Her first BL project is the 2022 drama, Old Fashion Cupcake. She also worked on Naked Dining (2023) and My Personal Weatherman (2023).