Wednesday, January 15, 2014


Fall 2013

Miss Pilot is a drama about an aimless young woman named Haru Tezuka (Maki Horikita) hunting for a job. She is a bit unfocused and not really sure what she wants to do for a career. Without much thought, she takes an exam to train as a pilot. Suddenly Haru finds herself in a competitive field full of smart and determined students. After "flying" for the first time in the flight simulator, she finds the inspiration that she was always looking for and vows to become a pilot. But will her sheer determination and strong will be enough to reach her goal?

Recommendation: The first time I watched Maki Horikita in a drama was from her small part in "Densha Otoko". I had a feeling she would receive bigger roles and in no time I saw her in "Nobuta Wo Produce" and "Innocent Love". I really liked her in the movie "Always San-chome No Yuhi" as well. I think she is a good actor, but unfortunately this drama did not take advantage of her skills. I thought the plot would be a strong one and it was an interesting plot because there probably aren't a lot of female pilots in the world, but this drama came out a little on the flat side for me.
The story of someone drifting through life and finding something passionate to reach for is nothing new. From the first episode this drama felt like a marketing tool for ANA. Now, I understand that ANA was a huge part of this show, but I didn't think they needed to spend the first three episodes having the P-kuns (pilot trainees) taking tests and experiencing how the grounds crew and mechanics do there jobs (boooring). I did like the ring tone from the drama, "Good Luck" that went off during the ANA orientation from a student's cell phone and it was nice that they added Koichi Iwaki who was also in "Good Luck". Still, I think there was too much time spent on the ins and outs of the aviation industry instead of focusing on character development. I didn't care much for any of these characters probably until the fourth episode. By that time I was hardly into this drama. The actors in general really had no chemistry, or maybe they just didn't include necessary scenes to form that chemistry. This was not a good thing because the characters were supposed to be bonding as a team. I mean, other than Haru and Chisato, I cared less about whether the rest of the cadets passed; they were so underdeveloped. The actors seemed to act out their lines word for word like they were reading directly from a script. But what can the actors do if this is what they're told to do? There was not a lot of creativity in the directing. I like to call this cookie cutter directing. It was so by the book and quite easy to read. It wasn't exciting at all. To top it all off, it was quite cheesy and overly sappy. Good dramas can move you to tears, but the bad ones try to force you to tears and that never works. Not everything was bad about this drama (episode 4 was probably the best) as there were some moving scenes and harsh obstacles that needed to be overcome by the characters, but it wasn't enough and it was difficult for me to root for them. I would have loved a really tense love triangle develop between Haru, Chisato Oda (Saki Aibu) and Konosuke Kunikida (Takumi Saito) but that didn't happen.
All in all, I don't think you will miss out if you don't watch this drama, even Saki Aibu who I  like wasn't great in this drama. Unfortunately, "Miss Pilot" had a lot of potential, but it never really takes off.

Story: 0.5
Acting: 0.5
Directing: 0.5
Character Development: 0.5
Emotional Factor: 0.5

2.5 Out Of 5.0 Crowns

Wednesday, January 1, 2014


Fall 2013

Dokushin Kizoku is a drama about three people who are single and have different perspectives on marriage. Mamoru Hoshino (Tsuyoshi Kusanagi) is the president and creative director of Kinema Etoile, a film production company founded by his late father. He is brilliant and has a keen sense for talent, but he is also peculiar when it comes to his personal daily habits. He has strong beliefs in being single and has no desire to get married as he likes to spend his personal time in a way that he chooses. On the other hand, Mamoru's younger brother Susumu (Hideaki Ito) was previously married, but is currently going through harsh divorce proceedings. Unlike his older sibling, Susumu is outgoing and has good social skills. He loves women, but is not interested in long term relationships. Yuki Haruno (Keiko Kitagawa) has struggled with previous relationships and recently declined a marriage proposal. She has dreams of becoming a scriptwriter and believes that marriage will hinder her efforts in her pursuit of that dream. She is not against marriage though, as a matter of fact, she strongly believes in it. Due to an inadvertent opportunity, Yuki takes one final chance to make her dreams come true. The choice she makes thrusts herself into the lives of the Hoshino brothers. Will they ever discover true love that will eventually lead to marriage?

Recommendation: First of all HAPPY NEW YEAR! It is also my birthday! I will be enjoying a sukiyaki dinner with the family tonight. Anyway, to kick off 2014, I wanted to write my first post today. I just finished the last episode of this drama last night and it was a very good one. For the fall season, I was planning to watch about 5 dramas and this one was not included. After seeing that the ratings averaged around 11% without great up swings or down swings I gave it a shot and I must say that this is probably the sleeper hit for the fall 2013 season. The synopsis didn't draw me in, but it was quite different than what I imagined. The story is a romantic comedy, but it is probably more romantic than comedic. I really loved the details of the sets, particularly Mamoru's office and his apartment were really nice. Due to the story revolving around movies, I really enjoyed the music, quotes, and various references made from older movies and people in the the movie industry. The drama created a "romantic" kind of tone and mood that reminded me of films probably made in the 1920's to 1950's. Even the characters personified those older times. Mamoru, Susumu, and Yuki have their issues with marriage, but their characters are pure in heart, honorable and chivalrous. I immediately attached myself to the characters and the actors really did a good job in terms of chemistry and playing their roles. The only issue that I had with this drama is that the story is nothing new. In fact it is quite overdone in terms of the plot. Still, the drama was executed nicely and Kusanagi, Ito and Kitagawa really portrayed their characters well. That's why I think it is a must see, especially if you are into romantic dramas. Yamashita Tomohisa also makes a minor appearance in two episodes which I thought was interesting. If you're looking for something romantic to watch, don't skip this one; it will fill your heart with dreams.

Story: 0.5
Acting: 1.0
Directing: 1.0
Character Development: 1.0
Emotional Factor: 1.0

4.5 Out Of 5.0 Crowns