TOKYO >> Netflix is ramping up its production of original Japanese content, including anime and live-action dramas, to please both its domestic and overseas subscribers. But arguably its most important export is “Terrace House,” the reality show that films three men and three women living together under one roof as they go on dates, attend concerts and eat konnyaku (konjac potato) jelly.
“Terrace House” has garnered international attention and has been written about by the likes of The New York Times, Vulture and Time.
The show also has an active online fan base that uses Reddit and Twitter to catalog the best moments from each episode.
After a successful season in the resort town of Karuizawa, Nagano Prefecture, the show has returned to its urban roots with “Terrace House Tokyo 2019-2020,” which premiered on Netflix on May 14. Set in the shadow of next year’s Olympic Games, this season focuses on new members as they navigate careers, love and the stresses of city life.
The lead-up to the premiere saw a flurry of internet activity as fans tried to lap up every juicy detail it could find about the six new faces. The official “Terrace House” YouTube account posted previews of each cast member (their faces never fully in focus), and online sleuths were able to hunt down names and Instagram accounts within hours.
The first episode saw the show return to form with the new members moving into a three-story home (pool included) in Tokyo’s Setagaya Ward.
The housemates include an illustrator, store clerk, fitness trainer, singer and two aspiring actors — standard fare for the show. “Terrace House” has become something of a launch pad for entertainment careers since the first episode back in 2012, when its debut cast featured a wannabe actor, a burgeoning model and even a member of idol group AKB48.
As the show has grown in popularity to become an international hit, a variety of actors, models, singers and fashion designers have gone on to start their own personal brands with varying degrees of success. Lauren Tsai has done well by collaborating with fashion designer Marc Jacobs and landing a role in the next season of “Legion,” the TV spinoff of “X-Men.” Tsai has also created artwork for Starbucks and Marvel Comics.
But her former roommate and co-star, Taishi Tamaki, an actor who wanted to “find a love worth dying for” during his time on the Hawaii-based “Aloha State” series, has just four gigs listed on his IMDb page — one of which is the show itself.
So what can we expect from the new season? Nothing earth-shattering, it seems. The show sticks to what works. Case in point: Inspired by an event three seasons ago dubbed by fans as the “meat incident” — a big to-do over the housemates eating another roommate’s prized beef without saving him a slice — the new season’s second episode was simply titled “Tempura Incident.”
Catch the latest episodes of “Terrace House Tokyo 2019-2020” on Netflix.