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What “Love is Blind” Failed to do that “Love is Blind: Japan” Does Right

I’m not ashamed to admit how much I love reality dating shows. I’ve been a casual watcher of The Bachelor and its spin-off shows, like The Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise. I’ve also definitely enjoyed the variety of dating shows Netflix has to offer, like Too Hot to Handle and the new Korean dating show, Single’s Inferno. It only took me one day to binge Love is Blind.

Love is Blind, for those who don’t keep up with reality shows as much as I do, is a unique dating show, in that singles meet each other in separate, yet connected, rooms and have to base their love and attraction on conversations alone. Only when one or the other asks the big question, “Will you marry me,” are they able to see each other face-to-face. When a couple is engaged, they attend a couples retreat with the other engaged couples. During the retreat, the couples can meet each other and interact before declaring their final, “I do,” or breaking up. 

Love is Blind and Love is Blind: Japan 

The original Love is Blind series premiered on Netflix in February 2020. Since then, there has been a Brazilian adaptation of the series and a more recent Love is Blind: Japan that came out on February 8, 2022. A Japanese version of one of my guilty pleasures was definitely not expected, but I’m not complaining! I found myself wondering whether this version would be a disappointment or if it would be the best thing I’ve watched in a long time. 

Surprisingly, Love is Blind: Japan has become one of my favorite reality shows. Five episodes in one sitting sound like a lot, but like any show that keeps a watcher engaged, it felt like barely any time went by. Although, my two roommates keeping me company on our living room couch as we shared a tub of Publix Chocolate Trinity ice cream was a definite bonus to the five-hour-long binge.

Like the original series, Love is Blind: Japan features singles looking to get engaged and married by the time filming is over. Rather than 30 singles: 15 men and 15 women, like the U.S. version, the Japanese version has 24 singles: 12 men and 12 women. 

So far, Love is Blind: Japan has left its audience in suspense after leaving the most recent episode on a cliffhanger, previewing the engaged couples on their getaway trips and what comes after as they enter real life together. 

How Do They Compare?

Like its American counterpart, Love is Blind: Japan features people of different ages and different professions. The basic programming is the same, given the same chance to speak to other single people in soundproof pods, but that’s basically where the similarities end.

The Japanese version gives a refreshing, unique look to reality dating shows that abandons the dramatized, staged reactions that American dating shows typically showcase. While the conversations between couples in the American version still showed intimacy and vulnerability, the Japanese version went beyond this to show the strength and struggles of the romantic relationships, along with the friendships developed between the men and women they lived with during the blind-dating portion of the show. Even with multiple men or women interested in the same person, the Japanese version rarely focused on vicious feuds between them, unlike the American version that focused a lot on the tension between cast members Jessica Batten and Amber Pike over their feelings for Matthew Barnett

While watching Love is Blind: Japan, my roommates and I felt attached to each of the couples while feeling sympathetic towards the ones that were unable to find their match. I got to appreciate the bonding between the 14 women through the pod-to-pod conversations, something that wasn’t really shown in the American version. What Love is Blind failed to do, in contrast to its Japanese counterpart, is truly capture the emotional connections formed throughout the season. It rushed to show the engaged couples in paradise without the audience having the chance to feel attached to the couples formed after the pods. 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still anticipating the second season of Love is Blind and I’ll probably binge-watch it the same way I did this series. So far, though, I can say I’m enjoying Love is Blind: Japan so much more than the original series I watched two years ago. As of now, there are only five of 11 episodes out, and it seems that it’ll be taking a massive turn from the paradise-like bubble as the couples experience real life together. Hopefully, my roommates and I won’t be disappointed in the second half, but you bet the three of us will be snuggled up in our pajamas next Tuesday eating our second pint of Publix Chocolate Trinity ice cream.

Ysa is a third-year English major from Melbourne, Florida. Apart from Her Campus UFL, she is involved in the Asian American Student Union and Asian Kaleidoscope Month at the University of Florida. After graduation she hopes to work for a book publishing house focusing on young adult and children's literature. In her free time, she loves to play Genshin Impact, listen to podcasts and binge watch YouTube commentary videos.
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