The Dark Herald Recommends: Kantaro the Sweet Tooth Salaryman
BUMPED: (8/9/23) The Disney earnings call wasn’t as earth-shaking as the stockholder meeting. Nonetheless, I’m going to need a little time to dig through Iger’s fog machine. So enjoy this classic.
This one is really more for fans of the original version of Iron Chef. It’s Bizarro Food-Porn. Kantaro has a kind of all-encompassing, Mister Spock-like obsession with desserts, which in and of itself totally makes sense if you have ever known a high-end Chocolatier.
Seriously, those guys are like monks, no reason to think their fanboys would be any different.
And no, nothing is going on under the table, that is just his reaction to pancakes with maple syrup. Which the Japanese completely get wrong of course.
Kantaro got a job as a salesman so he could “play hooky” and sneak off to have dessert dates by himself. This “playing hooky” is a big no-no in Japan. Although speaking from experience every salesman on Earth does it. But if he gets caught he will lose his dream job ya-da, ya-da.
Something you need to know about Japan is that they have a l-o-n-g tradition of specialty dessert shops. It’s not at all like American ice cream parlors, these little hole-in-the-wall shops just do sweets and that’s it. More importantly, they tend to specialize in one type of dish. Be it Kakigōri, Doraki, or Cheesecake (Japanese cheesecake is definitely its own thing). And truthfully, if you have a girlfriend in Japan its perfect date night material.
There is a Sally Love-Interest who is hopelessly in love with him and haplessly pursuing him. Kantaro is secretly running a blog called the “Sweets Knight” where he reviews the desserts he clandestinely indulges in. The romance works because of the antagonistic approach she takes to pursuing an answer to the question of, who is the real identity of the Sweets Knight? And antagonism is the secret to any decent romance, if you don’t believe me then you’ve never heard of Pride and Prejudice. By the way, she knows it’s Kantaro.
My second favorite character is Kantaro’s tough-as-nails, “Only Closers get coffee,” sales-manger boss. The actor totally nailed his part, he got that one right in every possible way. He’s just like every good sales manager I’ve ever known. Bombastic and driving one minute but a caring teacher the next. If you ever get into sales, this is the guy you want as your boss.
My favorite character appeared in only one episode. When you first meet Kantaro in the opener you can’t help but wonder, “he’s so weird, what’s his damage?” Then you let that question slide beneath the surface as you realize that this show is a little too goofy to worry about things like that.
Then towards the end of the season, the curtain rises on Kantaro’s mother (a dentist) calling to tell him that she has a Continuing Education Conference in his neck of the woods. And can he put her up for the night? “Excellent, I’ll be there at seven.”
His mother’s voice then drops an octave or two and she asks him, “Kantaro-chan, you haven’t been eating sweets have you?” And then holds her high-pitched, whirring dentist’s drill up to the phone’s mike. A cavalcade of childhood horrors washes across Kantaro’s face and you suddenly realize the full extent of his “damage.” That was a pretty weird episode.
This show is goofy, lightweight, and oddball enough to lift you out of our current world for an hour or two.
It also makes me miss Japan quite a bit, which doesn’t happen all that much.
Currently available on Netflix and that seems to be it.
The Dark Herald Recommends with Confidence.