J-dramas have their own charm and appeal. Some Jdramas are cute fluffy and equally cringy. Despite the cringe-worthiness and cuteness appeal, Black Cinderella is high on the 2021 Jdrama list. When starting Black Cinderella, the first thought anyone can get is that the drama is a fluffy nice rom-com high school drama; but prepare to change your mind. Black Cinderella is much more than that, the drama is highly entertaining with high rewatch value.
Manaha - The Black Cinderella
Meet Kamiya Manaha played by Riko. Manaha is a Sieran high school student who has always dreamed of entering the Miss Seiran contest. However,Manaha lacks confidence and self doubts herself. She idolises former Miss Seiran High when she was a child. Manaha, now a high school student of Seiran gets the opportunity to enter the very same pageant that she's always dreamed of. Kasumi Yuri (Erica), the previous year's winner, nominates Manaha for the contest. Looks pretty bland no? There's more. Black Cinderella is more than just an average beauty contest show.
The real plot of Black Cinderella begins when her classmate and previous year's winner Tachibana Keigo (Kamio Fuju) shows interest in her. He's bothered because Manaha doubts her potential and encourages her to believe in herself.
With encouragement from her best friend Yoshimura Himari (Suzuki Miu) and Keigo, Manaha begins preparing for the contest. On the contest day, Manaha meets a mysterious guy, Shimamura Sora (Itagaki Mizuki) who despises beauty contests.
Prepare your heart for some massive heartbreak and a couple of tissues; much needed. During the competition, Manaha got into an accident trying to save Yuri. The accident caused Manaha's face to disfigure permanently.
Yuri - The Hated Antagonist
If that wasn't bad enough, Yuri's real personality is revealed. Well, Yuri's character was too good to be true. Yuri and Keigo are engaged due to a business relationship. Keigo was starting to fall for Manaha which Yuri didn't like at all. Yuri knew Manaha was watching and still forces a kiss on Keigo who doesn't like Yuri's abrupt behaviour.
Hearing the truth from Yuri, who never saw Manaha as a friend, and thinking that Keigo was making fun of her, Manaha reaches the rooftop to commit suicide. This scene was really heartbreaking. Poor Manaha is an angel and needs to be protected. Don't get me wrong, she's not poor or deserves pity because of the accident or the scar. It's so sad that she genuinely treated Yuri as a friend but all Yuri cared about was winning the superficial beauty contest and showing Manaha her place.
Yuri is one hell of a jealous and inferior character who couldn't admit she loves Keigo and didn't want to lose him. Resorting to manipulation is not good. When Maneha returned to school, rather than disclosing the truth, Yuri manipulates her classmate to gain sympathy and corner Manaha. As of that will stop the newfound Manaha.
Strong Second Male Lead Syndrome
The one good thing about Black Cinderella is the second male lead Prepare to get the second male lead syndrome. If you thought crying over second leads is a K-drama thing, wake up, because in Black Cinderella your heart will root for the second male lead till the end. When Manaha was about to commit suicide, Sora stops her and gives her his piece of mind. That scene was emotional and touching.
Sora and Keigo - Frenemies?
The relationship between Keigo and Sora was one of the best things in Black Cinderella. Neither of the male leads held animosity towards each other and we're willing to sacrifice so that Manaha could end up with the more deserving guy. Keigo was willing to back off and give up on Manaha after witnessing the confession of Sora on Christmas. When Keigo confessed to getting plastic surgery to reveal he's all made up to encourage Manaha that scene was quite impactful. Yuri the chamaeleon spread rumours about Keigo which spread like wildfire. Keigo learned to accept himself and Sora was the only person besides Manaha who supported Keigo.
Self Discovery of Manaha
Manaha was on the journey of self-discovery. The reason why Manaha's character is so appealing is that she portrays the good and the bad side of life, learning to accept herself and the people around her. Rather than pitying herself or expecting fake sympathy, she is strong enough to stand for herself. During the contestant reveal when she defends Keigo and gives her piece of mind, you can't stop applauding her in appreciation.
Supportive BFFs - Himari and Hayato
The BFFs of Manaha and Keigo deserve a mention as well. Takigawa Hayato (Hyodo Katsumi) is a level headed character who always supports Keigo and encourages him to pursue Manaha. Hayato ends up dating Himari and they make a lovely couple. Despite Keigo's rumour is true, his friendship with Hayato doesn't change. He wanted Keigo to participate in the Seiran contest.
Good Character Dynamics
The character dynamics between Manaha, Sora and Keigo were amazing. The characters weren't completely evil. Although Yuri despised Manaha, she gets redemption in the end after winning the contest. Despite winning, Yuri wasn't happy at all. When the truth gets exposed that Manaha saved Yuri, Yuri clearly denies it. At Least Yuri's mother had common sense and supported Manaha. It was surprising to see Yuri's mother breaking off the engagement and siding with Manaha. Although she had her own agenda, she truly believed beauty can be created.
"You Don't have to return to your old self, you should just throw your old self away...and be who you want to be from now on." - Shimamura Sora
Overall, Black Cinderella Jdrama was a pretty nice watch. The episodes were fast-paced, there was no-nonsense and definitely not cringy. Manaha's parents were quite supportive as well. The entire cast of Black Cinderella deserves a huge shout out because every character shined. You can feel the angst, sorrow and happiness of the characters. Black Cinderella deserves to be watched and is highly recommended. The message portrayed in Black Cinderella was really heart-touching.
Where to watch Black Cinderella?
Black Cinderella is a 2021 Jdrama that has a total of 8 episodes. The episode duration is around 35 minutes. Black Cinderella is fully subbed and available in many languages including English. You can watch Black Cinderella in the Rakuten Viki app. The Jdrama is available for free streaming. Happy binge streaming!