Konbanwa! Please, put your luggage to one side and join me at the table. I’m looking forward to spending time with you. Pour yourself a glass of wine—kanpai!—but…Wait. You can’t sit there! That’s Seina’s seat.
Let me explain. Before Terrace House was a Netflix original, before there even was a panel on the reality show, there was Seina Shimabukuro. Seina-san, as she’s known, lived at Terrace House four times (including the movie, which hasn’t screened in the U.S.) and had cameos across all the seasons. But her legend isn’t just about longevity. She’s a returning star because she’s so lovable: loyal, supportive, open-hearted, sociable, and unpredictable. (There’s also that magnificent Fran Fine laugh.) A viewer can rely on Seina to get things moving, whether she’s encouraging her roommates to take romantic risks or being the focus of all the male attention in the house.
For a show anchored by a rotating cast of three boys and three girls, Seina’s character is as complex as all of them put together. There could be six different versions of the beloved model and yogi sitting around a table and Terrace House would still be entertaining and dramatic. For a reality show that’s all heart, Seina is the blood that courses through it, the housemate that makes it beat, the sparkle on the pink emoji.
The first Seina-san we meet is part of the OG cast of the original season, Boys and Girls Next Door. BB Seina is a 25-year-old aspiring model with hair as long as her legs and a palpable vulnerability. Initially leaving the house to follow dreams of an international career, she returns to Terrace House after that doesn’t pay off, for a total of 63 episodes. Instead of feeling like a downer, Seina’s homecoming(s) are cause for celebration, because there’s no shame in trying and failing then trying again. She always has a key to let herself in and find herself at home.
Seina brings this honesty and self-respect to her relationships, too. Never one to stray from a drunk makeout—be it a party pash with Boys and Girls roommate Makun or the infamous “vomit kiss” with Noah of Opening New Doors—when she knows what she wants, she’ll pursue it, making for some truly memorable moments. When Makun strings her along, Seina confronts him in a grand display of self-worth, a relatable rant for anyone asking themselves if shitty suitor behavior is what they deserve.
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