Ossan’s Love is a Japanese BL drama that gained mainstream recognition in the country, popular even among viewers who don’t normally watch the genre. The story focuses on a love triangle between two coworkers and their much older boss, who develops an inexplicable crush on his subordinate.
This workplace comedy is extremely funny, carried by a strong cast of actors who have immersed themselves into their roles. The zany humour, the unusual romance, and the buoyant energy all contribute to the success of Ossan’s Love.
Ossan’s Love Summary
Happy and upbeat
7 episodes + movie + sequel + special
Around 40 minutes
Haruta works as a real estate agent. Goofy and guileless, he lacks that ruthless instinct and isn’t particularly successful in his job. One day, Haruta accidentally discovers that his senior boss keeps photographs of him on his phone and computer. His boss, Kurosawa, is a married and respectable man in his fifties, yet he has developed an unexpected infatuation with his much younger employee. When Kurosawa confesses his love for him, Haruta is both confused and disturbed.
To complicate this workplace dynamic further, Haruta has another male coworker, Maki, who is also secretly in love with him. Maki is a friendly and caring guy, but feels very repressed from hiding his crush. Haruta is not aware of Maki’s feelings and only sees him as a platonic friend. It is only after they moved in together that Maki surprises Haruta with another love confession. Suddenly faced with two romantic suitors, Haruta finds himself caught in a messy love triangle in the middle of his workplace.
Ossan’s Love Cast
Haruta Kei Tanaka (田中圭)
Haruta is a good-natured real estate agent who finds himself caught in complicated romantic entanglements. He was not in love with his boss Kurosawa or his coworker Maki at the start. Haruta has a sunny disposition with an upbeat attitude. He is a little bumbling and a lot clueless, but does so in a charming way.
Kurosawa Kotaro Yoshida (吉田鋼太郎)
Kurosawa is Haruta’s senior boss at the real estate office. He falls hopelessly in love with Haruki, despite being married to his wife Choko for thirty years. His crush on Haruta might seem unusual, unexpected, and totally unreasonable. But hey, haven’t you ever been crazily in love before? (Emphasize on the crazed part.)
Maki Kento Hayashi (林遣都)
Maki is Haruta’s coworker at the real estate office and has been harboring secret feelings for him. He moves in to live with Haruta as his roommate. Maki grows increasingly neurotic over his feelings for Haruta, which he fears will never be reciprocated.
Ohtsuka Nene (大塚寧々)
Mashima Hidekazu (眞島秀和)
Kaneko Daichi (金子大地)
Uchida Rio (内田理央)
Kojima Kazuya (児嶋一哉)
Ito Shuko (伊藤修子)
Ossan’s Love Review
Drama Review Score: 8.5
I can totally understand why Ossan’s Love became so popular in Japan. This show is genuinely hilarious, with broad exaggerated humour that should appeal to lots of people. The actors are excellent, bringing these wacky characters to life and thrusting themselves into the most ridiculous scenes without missing a comedic beat. You’ll laugh, and laugh, and laugh when watching Ossan’s Love.
At times, the storylines felt so over-the-top that I was left a bit dumbfounded, reflecting on what the hell I just watched. Nonetheless, the charming characters and the upbeat energy kept me going without overthinking the show. After finishing the series, I appreciate Ossan’s Love simply for what it is: an entertaining BL comedy that made me laugh a lot.
How is the story?
If you can look past Kurosawa’s love for Haruta, the rest of the story is pretty simple. It features a workplace romance with a few simple twists and turns between the main couple.
Of course, you can’t really look past Kurosawa’s character since he is such a big part of the show. His story is more complicated, addressing themes of marriage, divorce, midlife crisis, and how to deal with reciprocated love. On first glance, Kurosawa’s story may seem strange and unusual, but it does dive deeper with more serious and emotional elements along the way.
How is the romance?
Haruta and Maki
The BL romance between Haruta and Maki is pretty standard. The relationship moves through all the motions as you’d expect, but it’s still a sweet and satisfying journey. As for Kurosawa, this peculiar one-sided romance can’t really be justified in words. Watching his character was a weirdly engrossing experience. You’re left wondering why this man is the way he is, and exactly how far will he go to win over Haruta?
How is the acting?
This is a brilliant cast. It’s not always easy being funny, but the actors here have killer comedic timing. They are colourful, dynamic, and flamboyant, keeping the energy levels high throughout the series. The characters are written to be caricatures, but the actors bring an emotional depth to make their roles more well-rounded.
Who’s the best character?
In a strong cast, Haruta stands out the most with his exaggerated reactions and goofy lovable charm. The actor (Kei Tanaka) is remarkable in this role, fully embodying his character in every possible way. As you watch him, you get the feeling that Ossan’s Love wouldn’t be half as good without his unique and infectious energy.
The most unique part about Ossan’s Love is the Ossan himself. This character is an oddball and his infatuation with Haruta seems so inexplicable that I don’t think it will ever make sense to me. No other BL drama would’ve made him a main character in any series in a million years. But Ossan’s Love took a creative gamble that clearly worked.
Kurosawa’s character is a unique hook, and his earnest absurdity brings a distinctive levity to the show. Envision Kurosawa as a gay Michael Scott from The Office and you’ll get his appeal.
Is there any nudity?
Haruta has a memorable scene in the shower at the end of the first episode. He also gets shirtless later in the series. By the way, he is surprisingly buff! 💪
Are there any triggers?
Your mileage may vary on how you feel about Kurosawa’s infatuation with somebody almost half his age. It’s mainly played for laughs on the show. There’s also a pretty wild separation process between Kurosawa and Choko, as she discovers the truth about her husband. I must add, the relationship between Kurosawa and Choko is quite complex, and explored deeper than the one between him and Haruta.
What would you change?
Maybe a few more episodes? They did make a movie and a second season (which is not a sequel), so I guess extending the length isn’t really needed. Or maybe a happier ending for Kurosawa? They did tease us with a relationship between Kurosawa and Masamune for a hot second, but that was played for laughs.
Otherwise, I wouldn’t want to mess with a winning formula that has proven to be so successful. Let’s leave the show as it is!
What’s the best part?
Ossan’s Love isn’t particularly deep. Don’t approach this show thinking it’s some kind of intellectual masterpiece with a deeper emotional message. The show is popular precisely because it’s simple, silly, outrageous, and stupidly funny.
It does touch upon some serious drama from time to time, which is handled well, but the surreal comedy is definitely the main selling point of the show.
The cultural impact of Ossan’s Love is simply astonishing. It’s encouraging to see the show’s popularity with mainstream audiences, proving that the BL genre is marketable beyond a niche demographic. Ossan’s Love has influenced a lot of the recent BL works, introduced new viewers to this wonderful genre, and inspired many countries to take a chance in creating BL content. I’m so thankful of Ossan’s Love for what it has accomplished, breaking incredible barriers and promoting BL to the world.
Ossan’s Love Sequel, Season 2 & Remake
The Ossan’s Love franchise is quite extensive with various specials, movie sequels, spinoff series, and even a remake in a different language. Let’s go over the timeline and describe each installation in detail:
- 2016 Ossan’s Love Special: There are actually two Ossan’s Love dramas, a lesser-known version that was released in 2016 and the extremely popular series which aired in 2018. The 2016 special is much shorter, but follows a similar plot as the 2018 series. Consider this special as a trial run, before the 2018 series makes significant improvements to the story.
- 2019 Ossan’s Love Movie: There is a movie sequel called Ossan’s Love: Love or Dead, released in 2019. This film continues where the drama originally left off with the same characters and cast.
- 2019 Ossan’s Love Season 2: In addition, Ossan’s Love: In the Sky was released in 2019. This is almost like a spin-off series with several of the same lead actors, who play completely different characters in a brand new story.
- 2019 Ossan’s Love Season 2 Special: Ossan’s Love: In the Sky also has its own 20-minute special, which acts as an epilogue to the completed story.
- 2021 Ossan’s Love Remake: In 2021, a Hong Kong remake was released. This version follows the same plot as the 2018 series, but comes with additional storylines that are not included in the original drama.
As a hardcore BL fan, I have watched every reiteration listed above. I still think the original drama stands out as the best version. Many of the sequels, specials, and spinoff series have their unique merits, but they aren’t as well-executed. After watching all these different versions, it makes me appreciate how good the original Ossan’s Love is.
Following the massive success of Ossan’s Love, a movie sequel was released in 2019. Ossan’s Love: Love or Dead is a two-hour action-comedy film. The story takes place a year after the events of the original drama. Haruta returns from an overseas business relocation, only to find that both his workplace and his relationship have gone through dramatic changes.
Ossan’s Love: Love or Dead was released across Japanese cinemas, so people actually paid money, sat down, and watched this movie. I know my last statement sounds like there’s a bit of ridicule, but I’m just shocked that a BL film has this amount of mainstream attention. According to Wikipedia, the movie ended up becoming the 12th highest grossing film in Japan that year.
In addition to the movie sequel, 2019 also introduces Ossan’s Love Season 2, although it’s more like an unrelated spinoff series instead. Ossan’s Love: In the Sky features two of the lead actors (Kei Tanaka and Kotaro Yoshida) in completely different roles. Maki’s actor (Kento Hayashi) does not appear in this season in any capacity, nor do any of the other supporting actors.
Ossan’s Love: In the Sky is a brand new story that takes place in an airline setting. This workplace comedy features many love triangles, as Haruta’s coworkers keep falling in love with him left and right. Since Season 1 and Season 2 are completely unrelated, you can watch Ossan’s Love: In the Sky without any knowledge of its predecessor. Unfortunately, the quality of this series is less consistent and I didn’t enjoy it as much as the original.
Ossan’s Love is such a cultural phenomenon that it has a remake in a different language! The Hong Kong version follows the same plot as the Japanese drama, but it is double the length and comes with additional storylines. Compared to the original series, Ossan’s Love Hong Kong has a lot more time to elaborate on the character development and emphasize on the romance between the lead characters.
If you’re a fan of Ossan’s Love, you should definitely check out Ossan’s Love Hong Kong. This is an extremely polished remake that shares the same upbeat energy as the Japanese predecessor, while adding its own unique twist. There’s an evident amount of love and care put into the production, which pays homage to the original series. You’ll be revisiting a classic BL story through a new and refreshing perspective.