Saturday, May 27, 2023

The 115th Drama Academy Awards (Winter 2023) - Best Leading Actress

Overall Ranking Top 3
1) Ando Sakura - Brush up life
2) Tominaga Ai - Oooku Season 1
3) Inoue Mao - 100 mankai ieba yokatta

Voters Ranking Top 5
1) Ando Sakura - Brush up life
2) Fukuhara Haruka - Maiagare!
3) Hirose Suzu - Yuugure ni, te wo tsunagu
4) Inoue Mao - 100 mankai ieba yokatta
5) Tominaga Ai - Oooku Season 1

TV Reporters Ranking Top 5
1) Ando Sakura - Brush up life
2) Inoue Mao - 100 mankai ieba yokatta
3) Tominaga Ai - Oooku Season 1
4) Kitagawa Keiko - Themis no Kyoushitsu ~ Legal seishun hakusho ~
5) Fukuhara Haruka - Maiagare!

Judges Ranking Top 5
1) Ando Sakura - Brush up life
2) Tominaga Ai - Oooku Season 1
3) Inoue Mao - 100 mankai ieba yokatta
4) Kadowaki Mugi - Reversal Orchestra
5) Kita Kana - Tokyo no yuki otoko

Johnny's Jimusho's follow-up actions in response to the Johnny Kitagawa sexual assault issue & my thoughts

In response to the sexual assault issue surrounding its late founder Johnny Kitagawa, Johnny's Jimusho announced on 26 May 2023 the following actions it has taken or will take going forward to address the problem and adopt preventive measures.

1) Establishment of a contact point for psychological consultation and care 
* This will be effective from 31 May 2023
* It is of utmost importance that the psychological health of its artistes, be it former or current, is taken care of regardless of whether they have spoken out about being personally affected by this issue or their status with the agency.
* As such, this service is available to all Johnny's Jimusho artistes and staff members, even those who had already left as of now.
* With privacy in mind, the psychotherapists and licensed psychologists who will be manning this service, will provide the best care possible to each and everyone who comes for the consultation. 
* Supervisor: Kamoshita Ichiro - psychologist and had held these positions in the past i.e. Minister of the Environment, State Minister of Health, Labor and Welfare and Health, Labor and Welfare Committee Chairman. Honorary member of Japanese Society of Psychosomatic Medicine and the advisor of Japanese Society of Psychosomatic Internal Medicine.

2) Establishment of a special team comprising of external experts to identify problem areas and come up with measures to prevent future recurrences
* This problem has brought to light the governance issues in the company.
* After consulting various experts, former Public Prosecutor General Hayashi Makoto who is currently a lawyer, was suggested to lead the special team handling the analysis of the company's problem areas and come up with measures to deal with them. 
* Other members in the team include Asukai Nozomu (psychologist, director of National Network for Victim Support and chief director of Victim Support Center of Tokyo) and a female researcher in the field of clinical psychology who is involved in the support of victims of sexual assault crimes (name to be revealed later as the procedure to get clearance for her involvement in this from the organisation where she works at is still in progress)

3) Appointment of 3 independent directors who will implement the measures put forward by the special team and management changes to prevent future recurrences
* Nakai Tokutaro - Vice Minister of the Environment and has extensive experience in being an advisor in corporate reforms. 
* Shirai Kazuyuki - Japanese baseball player who has been the coach of the Japanese national baseball team since 2021 and has provided coaching and support to various companies
* Fujii Mari - Vice chairman of the Daini Tokyo Bar Association and holds the post of investigation committee member and advisor to harassment issues. Experienced in the investigation of corporate power harassment issues and her legal work focuses on corporate law issues such as corporate governance and compliance


Much has been spoken about this sexual assault issue involving Kitagawa Johnny ever since the BBC documentary aired and was credited for setting the discussion going publicly as compared to the hush-hush rumours and silence in the Japanese media for many years.

I'm not going to go into details on this issue (there should be a lot of information out there if you want to read about it) but would like to just offer my take on the response from Johnny's Jimusho so far from a layman's perspective:

- The tricky issue here is, the perpetrator is dead. Any legal action taken will probably be against Johnny's Jimusho for its poor management controls and for the personnel who allowed the unacceptable conduct to go on, whether knowingly or not and actively facilitating these acts to happen or passively turning a blind eye to what was done. And that leaves a pretty bad aftertaste at least for me because the one responsible got away with it while those who may and may not be involved (all the artistes and staff in Johnny's now) will have to bear the repercussions, be it actual damage or undesirable reputations effects.

- I was sort of expecting Julie K. Fujishima to hide behind a written statement again during this scandal so I give her credit for at least appearing in the apology video with her face clearly shown. However, the content of the video and choice of words leaves much to be desired - be it the denial of knowing what happened, being unable to speak out or ask her uncle and mother about what had happened or that she was in no position to do anything. I get the part that she might not be able to question the authority back then when these acts reportedly happened during their reign and total control of the agency but it is unbelievable that she had no knowledge at all since the rumours were going on for decades. And I found it quite odd that she was speaking at such a slow speed in the video, as if she was reading from a script and made sure that she pronounced each word syllable by syllable for clarity. Maybe she was advised to do so by her lawyers but it did come across as staged and they were probably not her own thoughts. Sincerity is clearly lacking here.

- There have been questions or criticism about why some Johnny's artistes used to speak so fondly of Kitagawa Johnny and constantly shared interesting or funny anecdotes with him in variety shows, concerts or interviews despite what he did to his victims. Let's put it this way, everyone probably shows a different side to different people depending on the nature of their relationships. And it's a well-known fact that Kitagawa had favourites among his artistes and treated them differently from the rest. From the accounts which have surfaced so far, he also seemed to be the type who would "cut off" someone if the latter did not do his bidding. While he may have been a harmless and funny elderly man to some of his artistes, you can't deny that he also had a darker side which he showed to his victims. 
The people who admired and looked up to him all these years may need time to confront these uncomfortable facts dished out in the public right now. Rumours swirling for decades are one thing but personal accounts in the media with the victims being prepared to disclose their identities takes this to another level. It's unreasonable to expect the artistes to switch tones and criticise Kitagawa overnight just to be seen as politically correct or in line with what society expects them to do. They may feel enraged, upset or even betrayed to find out that the person they used to trust and respect turned out to be like this. And there is a likelihood that the agency may not have authorised them to speak out on this issue so attacking them for not saying something, not saying enough or taking a stand seems to be going a bit too far at the moment. Even the timing of who says what at what time becomes an attacking point.

- There is another article from Bunshun which looks at the media's response to this issue. Will be talking more about this aspect in another post.

- With regard to the actions announced as outlined above, it remains to be seen if they will indeed be effective. However, doing something concrete is better than being ambiguous about what they intend to do so hopefully, this will turn out to be something positive in the end. The thing though is, I think there needs to be controls in future to avoid having Julie K. or anyone else having the power to veto against everything. If this isn't addressed, any suggested measures while well-intended and supposedly should be effective may not achieve its intended purpose.

Friday, May 26, 2023

The 115th Drama Academy Awards (Winter 2023) - Best Supporting Actor

Overall Ranking Top 3
1) Tanaka Kei - Reversal Orchestra
2) Matsuyama Kenichi - 100 mankai ieba yokatta
3) Sometani Shota - Brush up life

Voters Ranking Top 5
1) Akaso Eiji - Maiagare!
2) Nagase Ren - Yuugure ni, te wo tsunagu
3) Ukisho Hidaka - Suki suki wanwan!
4) Sugino Yosuke - Wana no sensou
5) Kikuchi Fuuma - Daibyouin senkyo

TV Reporters Ranking Top 5
1) Sometani Shota - Brush up life
2) Matsuyama Kenichi - 100 mankai ieba yokatta
3) Tanaka Kei - Reversal Orchestra
4) Terawaki Yasufumi - Aibou season 21
5) Akaso Eiji - Maiagare!

Judges Ranking Top 5
1) Tanaka Kei - Reversal Orchestra
2) Matsuyama Kenichi - 100 mankai ieba yokatta
3) Sato Takeru - 100 mankai ieba yokatta
4) Hamada Gaku - Keishicho Outsider
5) Suzuki Nobuyuki - Ninja ni kekkon wa muzukashii

Thursday, May 25, 2023

The 115th Drama Academy Awards (Winter 2023) - Best Supporting Actress

Overall Ranking Top 3
1) Kaho - Brush up life
2) Nagasaku Hiromi - Maiagare!
3) Kinami Haruka - Brush up life

Voters Ranking Top 5
1) Takahata Atsuko - Maiagare!
2) Nagasaku Hiromi - Maiagare!
3) Kaho - Brush up life
4) Kuwabata Rie - Maiagare!
5) Matsumoto Wakana - Yuugure ni, te wo tsunagu

TV Reporters Ranking Top 5
1) Kaho - Brush up life
2) Kinami Haruka - Brush up life
3) Igawa Haruka - Wana no sensou
4) Yamashita Mizuki - Maiagare!
5) Matsumoto Honoka - Liaison - Kodomo no kokoro shinryoujo -

Judges Ranking Top 5
1) Nagasaku Hiromi - Maiagare!
2) Saito Yuki - Oooku Season 1
3) Katahira Nagisa - Wana no sensou
4) Ono Karin - Wana no sensou
5) Yamashita Mizuki - Maiagare!

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

The 115th Drama Academy Awards (Winter 2023) - Best Theme Song

Overall Ranking Top 3
1) I love you by back number (Maiagare!)
2) BETTING by Katori Shingo x SEVENTEEN (Wana no sensou)
3) Hoshizukiyo by YU-KA (Hoshi furu yoru ni)

Voters Ranking Top 5
1) I love you by back number (Maiagare!)
2) We are young by King & Prince (Suki suki wanwan!)
3) Life goes on by King & Prince (Yuugure ni, te wo tsunagu)
4) BETTING by Katori Shingo x SEVENTEEN (Wana no sensou)
5) Rinjuu Love by Macaroni Enpitsu (100 mankai ieba yokatta)

TV Reporters Ranking Top 5
1) BETTING by Katori Shingo x SEVENTEEN (Wana no sensou)
2) I love you by back number (Maiagare!)
3) Rinjuu Love by Macaroni Enpitsu (100 mankai ieba yokatta)
4) Tanpopo by Ikuta Rira (Oooku Season 1)
5) Algernon by Yorushika (Yuugure ni, te wo tsunagu)

Judges Ranking Top 5
1) I love you by back number (Maiagare!)
2) BETTING by Katori Shingo x SEVENTEEN (Wana no sensou)
3) Hoshizukiyo by YU-KA (Hoshi furu yoru ni)
4) Life goes on by King & Prince (Yuugure ni, te wo tsunagu)
5) Akatoki Reload by aiko (Ninja ni kekkon wa muzukashii)

Saturday, May 06, 2023

Thoughts about "Tsukuyomi-kun no kindan no oyashoku" Ep 1 (spoiler alert!)

The first word that came to my mind after watching this episode was "sensual".

Not that there was anything sexual or explicit about the drama but the way the filming of the scenes was done and the pacing of the developments created this very dreamy and sensual atmosphere that would be sure to tickle the viewers' senses, in a good way. 

First of all, the key theme of the drama was about having late night supper which is supposedly a sinful thing to do because we've all been told how bad it is to be eating after a certain time at night. Especially for the lead character Mikami Soyogi (Triendl Reina) who is a fitness trainer and has to have the perfect figure, eating has become somewhat like a taboo for her as she eats to survive, not to enjoy. As such, it was no wonder that when Tsukuyomi Yuuga (Hagiwara Riku) cooked a late night meal for Soyogi under rather unusual circumstances, the cinematography was probably done in a such way to show what kind of a temptation this would be for Soyogi. As a viewer, it is nothing surprising to be able to see and listen to the food being prepared on screen but for a brief moment, I thought that I was even able to imagine how it would smell. This is thanks to the deliberately slower-than-usual close-ups lingering on the food to make it look so tempting which would no doubt whet your appetite. I really think that this is something best not to be watched late at night and on an empty stomach because it is going to be such a tough fight against temptation. In this sense, I think this can be considered a success as a food-themed drama.

Secondly, the leads are definitely pleasing to the eye. There are a number of similar pairings this season featuring older women with younger men. While my personal favourite for now is Kurashina Kana and Kikuchi Fuuma who have a sizzling hot chemistry on screen (thanks to the way they hit it off real quick in their drama), these two have the potential to become a really sweet couple as the story progresses. I was especially impressed with Hagiwara who definitely looked like he could be the next heartthrob through this drama. The issue though is, this drama already introduced potential problems which would obstruct the lead couple's path to happiness so it looks like it won't be a straightforward journey for them after all. Some misunderstandings here and there but most likely, it wouldn't be the heartbreaking kind of agony for the couple.

Perhaps the more surprising thing is seeing the handsome brothers i.e. Yuuga and his elder brother Asahina Taiga (Asaka Koudai) who seriously look like they are in a BL universe of their own. In fact, the first episode made it look like there was a weird and ambiguous tension between them and frankly speaking, it was a tad sizzling to see their interactions. If I didn't know beforehand that they are brothers, I would be really mistaken about the nature of their relationship. And I must say, from the first time I watched Asaka in "Anata no ban desu", he sure has come a long way to look as good as he is now.

In summary, the first episode turned out to be better than I expected. Since I don't expect any surprises with the love story part, I think that I would be staying more for the food scenes and the couple pairings (yes, both the lead couple and the brothers). Since each episode is about two-thirds of the norm in terms of length, it is short enough as a quick night snack without feeling overburdened with angsty developments. Unless something major happens to turn me off, I think I should be able to stay with this till the end.

Friday, May 05, 2023

Thoughts about "Nichiyou no yoru gurai wa..." Ep 1 (spoiler alert!)

This turned out to hit closer to home than expected.

I was already prepared for this to be an emotional ride considering that the three lead characters each had their life struggles and the story was going to show how their newfound friendship is going to help provide a little emotional boost to make things slightly easier for themselves. However, diving straight into their issues in an as-a-matter-of-fact manner meant that there was no gradual transition or soft landing into the heavy parts of this story so it might be a bit uncomfortable for some viewers.

Of the three, Sachi's story (Seino Nana) was described in greater detail in this first episode. The key facts known so far are:
* Sachi's mother Kuniko (Wakui Emi) was still fine up to the point Sachi was in high school so that means the accident which caused Kuniko to be wheelchair-bound took place sometime between her high school days and the time she became an adult.
* Sachi feels guilty every time she experiences a brief moment of joy because she feels like she doesn't deserve to feel happy. Which means that she could have been the reason why Kuniko became wheelchair-bound so she feels obligated to work herself to the max so as to take care of her mother. 
* Despite her frustration at Kuniko trying so hard to liven things up and claim that she can do things on her own although there are limitations, Sachi uses silence to respond to the incessant "nagging" from Kuniko instead of flaring up with angry words. This ignoring gets on Kuniko's nerves since she has no one to talk to due to being confined at home all day due to her condition. Besides Sachi's mental fatigue at doing everything on her own and having to hear Kuniko rattle on from the time she gets home, the lack of energy from working as much as she can must have taken a toll on Sachi physically. I get it because I don't talk too when I'm exhausted.

* Both mother and daughter know that they are stuck in a loop of never-ending frustration towards their situation and with each other but the good thing is, they both realise that they have to let off steam from time to time. That's better than letting the anger pent up and explode in a big way where things go out of control.

The part about them buying the most expensive ice cream in the convenience store - it's probably more than the most expensive ice cream tasting fantastic. Honestly speaking, they can't be that financially well-off given Sachi's single income but an once-in-a-while indulgence helps them to get out of that routine which frustrates them on a daily basis. The other significance in this action is probably for Kuniko to get out of their small apartment which is like a prison for her. That is why Sachi has to go through the trouble of bringing Kuniko along with her to the convenience store instead of just buying the expensive ice cream for them to eat at home.

As for Shoko (Kishii Yukino), what is known for now is that she's living on her own and seems to be estranged from her family for some reason. Under her loud and cheerful demeanour, there seems to be a deep sense of sadness and craving for company. Compared to Sachi or Wakaba (Nukumi Meru) who seem to be stuck in a rut due to their circumstances, Shoko looks as if she is carefree and enjoys the freedom of being on her own but the truth should be far from that.

Wakaba's situation is somewhat like Sachi but the only difference is that she doesn't have caregiving duties to juggle since her grandmother Fujiko seems healthy and well. However, Wakaba is stuck in the countryside and a factory where she doesn't enjoy working at and doesn't see any way for her to break out of this situation. It looks like Wakaba used to be in a rich family but something probably happened for her and Fujiko to have to work in low-paying jobs and rent a house. And the deep seething resentment towards Wakaba's mother (Yada Akiko) probably has something to do with their predicament.

As such, after having been subjected to such "heavy material" for about half of this episode, the bus trip turned out to be a total game changer in showcasing how the three women develop a friendship quickly and seem to be able to empathise with one another. However, it's more of like an unspoken kind of mutual understanding between them since they did not go into details on what is difficult in their respective lives. And what was unexpected was how they did not actually "continue" their friendship by choosing not to exchange contact details and keep the bus trip as a pleasant memory that they could reminisce from time to time. Of course, they will reconnect very soon again in the next episode or else the story cannot continue.

Although there are two guys introduced at this stage i.e. Ichikawa Mine (Okayama Amane), their guide for the bus trip and Sumida Kenta (Kawamura Kazuma), who will be paired up with them as love interests is still unknown. However, I have a feeling that Shoko will have the hots for Kenta because of her obsession with the name "Kenta" - the reason was explained in this episode. Sachi looks likely to fall for Kenta because of the "shining future" that he probably symbolises (reference to the shop which he owns) but Mine looks like he will be pining for Sachi at some point in time or at least take an interest in her life because of his "obasan" nosey-parker personality. 

In summary, I thought that this drama started off really well in showing the tough things we have to deal with in real life through the three main characters. There were some points when I felt so choked up and could really empathise or identify with the deep-seated frustration of the characters. Then again, it's not all gloom and doom since there are highlights and things to look forward amid the deep pain and sorrow. As such, this looks like a pretty good booster to get everyone in a better mood on Sunday night before starting a new week of tackling the challenges we all face in our lives as the title suggests.

Thursday, May 04, 2023

Winners of the 26th Nikkansports Dorama Grand Prix (Spring 2022 - Winter 2023)

The voting exercise was conducted online between 30 March and 6 April 2023 where respondents chose from dramas shown between April 2022 and March 2023 for the 5 categories. A total of 74,832 votes were received with the most voters in terms of age group (in descending order) were those in their 40s, 50s, 30s, 20s, more than 60 and teens.

The total number of votes received are represented in brackets as follows:

1) Kurosagi (39,549)
2) Suki suki wanwan! (11,182)
3) Reversal Orchestra (3,315)
4) Shin Shinchoukouki (3,310)
5) 100 mankai ieba yokatta (2,720)
6) Shoujiki Fudousan (2,399)
7) Kindaichi shonen no jinkenbo (2,174)
8) My Family (1,780)
9) silent (1,641)
10) Yuugure ni, te wo tsunagu (1,295)

1) Hirano Sho - Kurosagi (39,968)
2) Kishi Yuuta - Suki suki wanwan (11,350)
3) Nagase Ren - Shin shinchoukouki (4,472)
4) Yamashita Tomohisa - Shoujiki Fudousan (2,634)
5) Oguri Shun - Kamakuradono no 13 nin (2,577)
6) Michieda Shunsuke - Kindaichi shonen no jikenbo (2,329)
7) Ninomiya Kazunari - My Family (2,268)
8) Hayashi Kento - Hatsukoi no akuma (1,649)
9) Yamada Ryosuke - Ore no kawaii wa mou sugu shouhikigen!? / Shinainaru boku e satsui wo komete (1,628)
10) Kusanagi Tsuyoshi - Wana no sensou (1,401)

1) Ando Sakura - Brush up life (19,559)
2) Hirose Suzu - Yuugure ni, te wo tsunagu (6,389)
3) Nagasawa Masami - Elpis - Kibou, arui wa wazawai - (6,289)
4) Inoue Mao - 100 mankai ieba yokatta (6,175)
5) Kadowaki Mugi - Reversal Orchestra (5,360)
6) Sugisaki Hana - Prism (4,128)
7) Kawaguchi Haruna - silent (3,871)
8) Yoshitaka Yuriko - Hoshi furu yoru ni (3,707)
9) Kuroshima Yuina - Chimudondon (2,799)
10) Arimura Kasumi - Ishiko to Haneo - sonna koto de utaemasuka? - (2,177)

1) Miura Tomokazu - Kurosagi (33,490)
2) Nagase Ren - Yuugure ni, te wo tsunagu (8,958)
3) Ukisho Hidaka - Suki suki wanwan (8,041)
4) Tanaka Kei - Jisoku kanou na koi desuka? / Reversal Orchestra (5,021)
5) Sato Takeru - 100 mankai ieba yokatta (3,889)
6) Meguro Ren - Maiagare! / silent (2,562)
7) Ichihara Hayato - Shoujiki Fudousan (2,456)
8) Hamada Gaku - My Family / Shin shinchoukouki (2,210)
9) Oideyasu Oda - Suki suki wanwan (1,342)
10) Yamamoto Koji - Kamakuradono no 13 nin / Kurosagi (1,336)

1) Kuroshima Yuina - Kurosagi (32,367)
2) Nakamura Yuri - Kurosagi (6,172)
3) Tabe Mikako - My Family (3,863)
4) Koike Eiko - Kamakura dono no 13 nin / Kyousou no bannin (3,707)
5) Kaho - silent (3,174)
6) Fukuhara Haruka - Shoujiki Fudousan (2,937)
7) Matsumoto Wakana - Tantei Romance / Yuugure ni, te wo tsunagu (2,824)
8) Shim Eunkyung - 100 mankai ieba yokatta (2,454)
9) Takiuchi Kumi - Reversal Orchestra (2,309)
10) Hirate Yurina - Roppongi Class (2,307)

Thoughts about "Nami yo kiitekure" Ep 1 (spoiler alert!)

Koshiba Fuuka literally carried the show on her own in this first episode with an impressive performance.

In the few times I had watched Koshiba's works, she was able to stand out in the cast even if the role wasn't that big. As such, I had faith that she would be able to do well in this drama which featured her with a huge image change and having to speak many lines quickly. Despite so, I was still amazed by how she did - the lines didn't come out muffled or incomprehensible despite her speaking speed and the loud and colourful image of Koda Minare strangely didn't seem out of place here.

The downside to this is, this sort of made her co-stars pale in comparison which of course may change in the later part of the story. However, at this stage, I can't deny that these characters did seem quite boring and hardly left an impression. Perhaps the sole exception was Nakahara Chuuya played by Katayose Ryota who was simply annoying from the start with his overly open display of affection for Minare but actually doesn't act in her best interests at times when he tries to impose his opinions on her. Kitamura Kazuki's character Matou Kanetsugu also didn't have much of the charismatic and influential director feel and came across more as a wilful ojisan at the moment.

What concerns me more about this drama is how the story is progressing. I was of the impression that this drama would be more about Minare's growth story in the radio industry and how she influences those around her but the part where there was a dramatisation of what she spoke in her first radio show felt really odd and didn't blend in so well with the main plot. As this appeared out of the blue without warning, it felt at first that what was depicted did happen. However, once Matou appeared in the dramatisation and his actions simply felt unnatural, it was a telltale sign that somehow this was all imaginary. And true to my guess, it turned out to be so. However, I didn't really feel any gratification about guessing correctly - what bothered me more was whether this was going to be the norm going forward. I get it that the intention was probably to show how Minare's words had the power to engage listeners as if they were seeing the story unfold before them and the ability of using radio as a medium to do it. Perhaps, there might be a better way to show this rather than this kind of dramatisation which don't seem to blend that well with the main plot's flow.

For now, I'll give this a couple of episodes just to get a feel of how things go. Much as I am interested to keep watching for the sake of Koshiba, if the story doesn't get interesting enough or her interactions with the supporting characters fail to be engaging, I think I might just drop this before the midway mark.

Tuesday, May 02, 2023

Thoughts about "Dr. Chocolate" Ep 1 (spoiler alert!)

I wasn't expecting much from this drama but surprisingly, it turned out to be decent despite some loopholes in the story.

First of all, when there are stories about some genius who excels in a particular field despite conventional knowledge or assumptions, it can get rather exaggerated as the character would be held up like some superhero who is very unlikely to exist in real life. That was precisely my biggest worry when it was made known that Dr. Chocolate is actually a 10-year-old girl who can perform surgeries more skillfully than most adult doctors. 

However, the story did give a proper explanation on how Dr. Chocolate came about. No doubt it was out of the norm for most children of her age, given her family background and her exposure to medical knowledge since she was much younger, it made sense that she was armed with so much knowledge. The thing though is, theory may not translate well into practice so on this part, it may not be so convincing to viewers that her practical skills could be attained through merely theory and simulation.

Secondly, the mystery surrounding Dr. Chocolate i.e. Terajima Yui (Shiroyama Noa) and Teacher i.e. Noda Tetsuya (Sakaguchi Kentaro) was revealed in no time. Most dramas would tend to drag this kind of revelation to somewhere in the middle of the story but bucking the trend turned out to be a good move since it allows the story going forward to focus more on the "who did it" and "why" after the "what", "when" and "where" had been addressed. And to have someone who is supposedly on the dark side to infiltrate into the Dr. Chocolate team means that the story should get pretty exciting as they try to find out the truth but with someone nearby to sabotage their efforts. Although the first episode did suggest something as the answer as to why Yui's parents were killed, I don't think that's the full story so it will take some time for the revelations to be out in full. 

Last but not least, I was of the impression that only Teacher and Dr. Chocolate would be the ones doing the surgeries but it turned out that Teacher can't do it because he has a prosthetic arm after his injury from the explosion and fire. The Dr. Chocolate team turns out to be an interesting mix of characters and we don't even get to know their real names. Through the nicknames given by Yui which reflect their unique traits, it is actually easier to remember so many people at one go like this. It would make sense for their background stories to be revealed as we go along so that's probably when we will find out their real names.

The thing is, since they are part of Team Chocolate, it was natural that their surgical outfits were brown in colour. As seen from the picture, they could hardly be seen in the night which I guess also helps in camouflaging. One thing which also slightly bothers me is them wearing these outfits well before they reach the location where the surgery is done - any potential issues with contamination here?

The timing of Okuizumi Nagisa's phone call to Teacher was somewhat questionable too. Did she know that the team was going to operate on the person supposedly responsible for the deaths of the Terajimas? And her over zealousness in pursuing their case coupled with her eagerness to find the true identity of Dr. Chocolate - it brings up numerous questions as to who she is and how she factors in the grand scheme of things. As for the potential loveline between her and Teacher...let's just say that this story probably doesn't need a distraction in this manner. And I certainly don't wish to see another "forced and out-of-the-blue" ending where Nishino Nanase ends up as the most unexpected mastermind again like in "Anata no ban desu".

Much as I think the surgical scenes were still a bit too unbelievable, the first episode didn't spend a lot of time on this part so it was still bearable to sit through them. For now, I'll probably stay on more for the main story but the patients they treat in each episode could provide the clues to the puzzle at the end so hopefully, these cases won't be too boring.

One final note here, I just don't get the obsession that J-drama scriptwriters have with painting Singapore as some place where black market doctors can ply their trade with ease, people running amok on the streets with guns or the place where people escape to after committing a crime. Rather than use actual place names, sometimes it's better to come up with something fictitious because it can get seriously offensive at times with these weird and negative associations by people who don't know a thing. It's not amusing anymore when it happens too many times.

Sunday, April 30, 2023

Thoughts about "Shouri no houteishiki" Ep 1 (spoiler alert!)

This is probably yet another example of how the viewers have to sit through not-so-interesting filler cases before getting to the best parts of the story.

To begin with, the filler case featured in this episode was quite predictable. There wasn't much doubt about who did what bad things or how the case was probably headed towards an "ideal" resolution although I can never fathom why people are expected to have a conscience and confess/admit to their guilt when there is no evidence or material facts to confront them. And it was sort of expected that no matter how the case turned out, Kagura Ran (Shida Mirai) would be spurred to restart her career as a lawyer so as to help her friend Saotome Hana (Kitano Kii) overturn her murder conviction later on. As such, it is likely that you have to sit through a good 4 or 5 episodes with these "easy" cases until the main plot that connects Ran, Hana and Kurosawa Jin (Kazama Shunsuke) takes centrestage.

Secondly, the story structure and settings aren't believable or realistic. Ignoring the fact about Ran being a former child actor and later becoming a lawyer (this is fine since child actors can go on to switch jobs when they grow up), the other arrangements seem so odd. Kurosawa impersonating Ran to create a blog and write all sorts of untruths purportedly from Ran - shouldn't this be a criminal offence? As a lawyer, Ran not taking legal action against him or seeking an injunction to stop him from doing this going forward just doesn't sound right. Her subsequent actions of going along with him and following his plans or that the overly simplistic assumption that the responses of the witnesses and accused will be according to his script also seems too far-fetched. Much as I get that this is for dramatic effects, it is hard to feel engaged while watching this when there are so many loopholes that I can see even if I am not legally trained.

And this obsession with doing a wall display of the information found about individuals involved in a case - I simply cannot see why this is still done to this date. I mean, Kurosawa doesn't seem to have put up a strong security system to prevent anyone from simply walking into that secret room and seeing all his findings. And yet he's sort-of letting Ran using his place as a base/office to meet clients? If you want to have a secret room or something, at least keep the room locked up or the display hidden by some secret wall.

Last but not least, the acting is a bit hard to stomach especially in the case of Kazama. I know he's doing it on purpose to suppress the tone of his voice and talk in that manner but it was so jarring to the ears and the pretentious nature of this acting was such a eyesore. I don't know how long he has to do this but hopefully as his character is more developed and his back story is revealed, his acting can be a bit more natural. 

Likewise for Shida, I get it that Ran is probably not the sharp, stern lawyer with a lot of presence but even during her consultations with her clients, she came across as lacking in confidence and didn't have a firm stand. Somehow, it is very unsettling if you are to consult a lawyer who behaves like her. However, it is still early days so perhaps Ran will go through a transformation as time goes by.

In summary, I would say that I wasn't satisfied with this episode but will give it a couple of episodes to see if things get better. As such, it will be a matter of which comes first - my patience running out or the story heating up fast enough to make me stay on.

Saturday, April 29, 2023

Thoughts about "Last Man - Zenmou no sousakan -" Ep 1 (spoiler alert!)

This turned out to be slightly better than expected despite my initial reservations.

First and foremost, the direction of the story seemed like familiar territory. It was obvious to see that a FBI investigator wouldn't come to Japan simply for an exchange program so there was definitely another reason motivating him to do so. And when something like this happens, chances are there will be a conspiracy plot most likely involving the Japanese police which is to be uncovered. The thing is, such a plot has been done so many times that I wonder if this drama is capable of dishing out something new?

As seen from the first episode, my suspicion was proven correct since it was revealed that Minami Hiromi (Fukuyama Masaharu) lost his sight as a child due to a supposed accidental fire that also caused the death of his parents. Towards the end of the episode though, it was obvious that there is definitely something more than meets the eye because of a prisoner currently behind bars and the fact that the Godous - Seiji (Terao Akira) and Kyougo (Kamikawa Takaya) know something about that fire and are worried about Minami's presence and motive while in Japan. The more alarming thing is, there is something about the truth that supposedly involves or will affect Godou Shintaro (Ooizumi Yo). Does this mean Shintaro is related to the culprit? Or was he related to Minami in the past? To be frank, I am more intrigued by this part as compared to what actually happened to Minami's parents. I am guessing that they were silenced or had to be gotten rid of because they posed a threat to the mastermind.

The second concern I had was how the combination of Fukuyama and Ooizumi would turn out. I think what worked in their favour was that they are quite different in terms of acting style and image in real life so this resonates with how things are between the vastly different Minami and Shintaro in the drama. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised to see how well they interacted onscreen and the timing of their to-and-fro lines was quite impeccable for a first episode. Looks like they are "meant to be" for a good reason! The worrying thing is, there is a possibility of the two characters turning against each other. If it turns out that Shintaro is somewhat involved or related to the people who may have caused the fire, the bromance between them is bound to end. That's quite a pity though because it has been such a joy to see them getting closer especially through two scenes in this episode where the positions of where they sat at the dining table showed a growing bond between them.

In terms of the case featured this time, I would say that the process of leading to the culprit was more interesting than the actual case itself or the resolution. The usual prejudice against the handicapped or assumptions made thinking that nobody else does it better than the locals were aplenty to see so now that Minami had proven his worth, his counterparts in Japan might treat him with a bit more faith and respect. Nagase Ren's role Izumi didn't have a lot of airtime and simply came across as a stick-in-the-mud kind of elite. On the other hand, Imada Mio's Agatsuma who was supposedly helped by Minami in the past, might be a more interesting character to explore given that she seemed to fade in the background in the investigation team and was treated as someone whose views are not valued.

I may be thinking a bit too much into this but the title got me wondering if there's an unusually strong focus on the "blindness" of Minami. The word "zenmou" is typically not used to describe someone who cannot see except if we want to make it clear that the person has lost 100% of his/her sight. It then got me wondering, is Minami faking his blindness now? I don't doubt the fact that he probably did lose his sight during the fire in his childhood but he may be able to recover later on in life for all we know. The drama also didn't say for sure if his condition was totally impossible to regain his eyesight. It may seem like a far-fetched idea for now but when you look at his actions from the time he met Shintaro, it seemed plausible that he was making use of his "blindness" to get people to lower their guard around him and trust him more.

In summary, I would say that I am more inclined to stay on for the sake of the two leads because the story hasn't really gotten me hooked to the extent of lasting an entire season. However, if the story gets so bad or predictable, it might be difficult to sit through this even with the two of them doing a great job.

Friday, April 28, 2023

Thoughts about "Gouritekini arienai ~ Tantei Kamizuru Ryoko no kaimei ~" Ep 1 (spoiler alert!)

To be honest, my first thought after finishing this episode was, "that's all?".

Perhaps I was expecting too much from this drama right from the start so it was hard not to feel quite underwhelmed with what was dished out. However, I wouldn't say that it was bad...just that not as good as I thought it should have been.

The story begins with an assault case allegedly committed by Kamizuru Ryoko (Amami Yuki) when she was still a lawyer. The odd thing though is, she claimed that she couldn't remember why she did that or if she actually did that. Details of the case were rather sketchy during the flashback scenes so the victim's identity wasn't even made known. Despite this, Ryoko was "cut off" by Isama Keisuke (Nakamura Tooru) who is the president of Isama Group for which she had been its legal advisor. This suggests that the case had a detrimental effect not only on her career as a lawyer and had implications on the company she represented. Work-related trouble or a personal vendetta?

Fast forward to the current day, the viewers are then treated to a dazzling galore of cos-playing scenes featuring Ryoko as part of her work as a private detective with the backend support by her partner Takayama Nobuhiko (Matsushita Kouhei). At present, it is not clear how things came to this state, how they met or what they hope to achieve through this detective work. As such, it can get really bewildering to see them going about their "missions" without any context or idea of where all these are heading to.

Another aspect which bothered me was the "deja vu elements" which naturally led me to make comparisons. For example, the cosplaying done by Ryoko kept reminding me of Daako (Nagasawa Masami) in "Confidence Man JP" but Amami simply didn't have the luxury of time and detail that could convey the extent of her effort or how these were integral to the progression of the storyline. Likewise, the part about a lawyer-turned-detective got me comparing this drama with Ayase Haruka's "Motokare no yuigonjou". Although Ayase's character was not officially a private detective, there were similarities between what she did and what Ryoko did here. I don't know if it's the editing that made everything feel so rushed and disjointed but it did come across as the drama was being very ambitious in trying to do everything but ended up not excelling in any aspect.

It may be too premature to write this off so I'll give it a few more episodes before deciding whether to watch this till the end. I can only hope that the story gets better. Or at least make the filler cases more interesting until we get to the meat of the story.

In terms of acting, I'm a bit undecided about the chemistry about Amami and Matsushita for now given that the story at this stage hardly gave a clue as to their characters' relationship dynamics. Are they allies or going to be foes in future? What kind of secrets are they hiding from each other especially since it looks like Takayama is not fully aware of what happened in Ryoko's case in the past? It may be fun to see them bickering at times while at work but it feels like their interactions for now are just very superficial and scraping the surface only. 

In summary, it may be good to manage expectations before you head into watching this. Perhaps my biggest mistake was to hope for too much just because Amami is headlining this drama. If it's a case of the best is yet to come, I'm OK with sticking this out. The thing is, how long will it take to get to the best parts of this drama? As someone who hasn't read the original material, I do not have an idea of what lies ahead. If the filler episodes going forward are still so all over the place, I'm sorry to say that I may have to give up despite my liking for Amami and Matsushita.

Thursday, April 27, 2023

Preview of "Ah, Love Hotel ~ Himitsu ~" - Spring 2023

Title: Ah, Love Hotel ~ Himitsu ~ / ああ、ラブホテル ~ 秘密 ~
Official website: here
O.A. Start Date: 19 May 2023
Timeslot: Fridays at 11.30pm
Broadcast by: WOWOW
Total number of episodes: 9
Cast: Bandou Ryouta, Ishikawa Ruka, Okayama Amane & Ono Karin (Ep 1)
Matsumoto Marika, Miura Takahiro, Minagawa Sarutoki & Sakurada Hiyori (Ep 2)
Hotta Mayu, Inowaki Kai, Suzuki An, Ishii Anna & Hayashida Yohei (Ep 3)
Isomura Hayato, Miura Touko, Arakawa Yoshiyoshi & Kiryu Mai (Ep 4)
Seto Koji, Takiuchi Kumi, Mimura Akari, Sakou Yoshi & Mitsuishi Ken (Ep 5)
Kaneko Daichi, Katayama Yuki, Nakamura Mukau, Sakurai Kento, Otaka Akira, Serizawa Tateto & Narushima Touko (Ep 6)
Inou Masayuki, Nakamura Yurika, Sakaguchi Ryotaro, Ono Rina & Maeda Oushiro (Ep 7)
Kato Ryo, Okada Yui, Morisaki Win, Sato Ryo & Takaishi Akari (Ep 8)
Hayashi Kento, Itagaki Rihito, Sakai Maki, Okada Yoshinori, Kitamura Yui, Yamasaki Ryutaro & Yamawaki Tatsuya

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Thoughts about "unknown" Ep 1 (spoiler alert!)

To be honest, I wasn't that keen on this drama when I first heard of it. 

A love story about two people, or rather 1 vampire and 1 human being, where they have unspeakable secrets. Hmm...been there, done that. However, throw in a suspense element of "whodunit" for a serial murder case, now that's something I might be more interested in.

The first episode focused largely on the love story between Kokoro (Takahatsu Mitsuki) and Toramatsu (Tanaka Kei) from the time they met to them actually falling in love with each other. However, because both of them have secrets that they can't tell the other party, they just cannot progress to marriage despite everyone around them thinking that it's high time they do it since they are so in love with each other and have been dating for some time.

At present, what we know about Kokoro's secret is that she is a vampire and her family members are all the same. Considering that she has some living habits as a vampire which are bound to attract Toramatsu's attention if they do get married and start living together, it is no wonder that she is apprehensive about marriage. Her family is also a mix of rather unique characters - father Kaizo (Yoshida Kotaro) who is a doctor but keeps dressing up like a vampire and gets mistaken as a cosplayer by their neighbours, mother Iori (Asou Kumiko) who goes on primetime news as a popular newscaster and younger brother Ren (hasn't appeared in the first episode yet) who is a police detective. No wonder she is worried about how Toramatsu would react because she truly has feelings for him and wouldn't want him to leave when he finds out the truth.

On the other hand, Toramatsu's secret isn't revealed yet. Other than the fact that he went through a divorce, nothing much is known for now. Although it's hinted that he has a big secret which he is hiding from Kokoro, I just hope that when the revelation comes, it won't be underwhelming when compared to Kokoro's secret. 

Coming to the part about the serial murderer who was supposedly active 5 years ago and only resurfaced recently, the fun part going forward would probably be guessing who among the cast members is the killer. Despite the fact that the bodies of the victims had their blood drained out, it would be too premature to link this to one of the vampires so the actual killer might have some reason for doing this even though he/she may not be a vampire. However, there aren't many clues to work with for now so it's not easy to guess who it might be at this stage.

Looking at how Kokoro saved Toramatsu from the burning house, it seems likely that she may be using her powers as a vampire to help him with the investigations as the story progresses. And given that Kokoro had already told Toramatsu about her secret (whether the implications of this has sunk in for him is another thing) and he seemed relatively calm about it, this might not be as big as an issue between them after all.

In summary, the first episode was a decent introduction to the story with lots of lovey-dovey scenes between the lead couple. Takahata and Tanaka looked so good together and had great chemistry as a dating couple. The supporting characters are also well-defined with interesting traits which should entice viewers to stay on for the sake of finding more about these people. However, I remain cautiously optimistic because like what I said, I'm in this more for the suspense. If this element fails to do well, I don't think I will like this drama simply for the relatively straightforward romance.

Preview of "Draft King" - Spring 2023

Title: Draft King ドラフトキング
Official website: here
O.A. Start Date: 8 April 2023
Timeslot: Saturdays at 10pm
Broadcast by: WOWOW
Total number of episodes: 10
Original novel by: Kuromatsu Tetsurou
Cast: Muro Tsuyoshi, Miyazawa Hio, Denden, Ibu Masato, Kamiji Yuusuke, Hirayama Yuusuke, Fujima Sawako, Kawakubo Takuji, Sakata Masanobu, Otaka Akira, Ikuta Shunpei, Masunaga Tatsuki, Machida Keita, Tanaka Yoji, Takahashi Tsutomu, Sendou Nobuko, Nakayama Shouki, Kido Taisei, Kitarou, Moro Morooka, Sudo Risa, Abe Ryohei, Hyoudou Takumi, Fukumatsu Rin, Yagi Masayasu & Takashina Yuki

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Thoughts about "Sorette pakuri janai desuka?" Ep 1 (spoiler alert!)

Dramas about law as a whole, especially criminal or corporate law or those in the legal profession are aplenty. What distinguishes this from the rest is its singular focus on intellectual property laws which may not be so well-known or many people and companies do not pay attention to. As such, given its laser focus on one area, you will no doubt be able to learn more about the issues involved and how being the "creator" doesn't mean that you will automatically own the rights to whatever you create. The downside though is, for those who may not be familiar with legal jargon, the lines can get quite mind-boggling at first because there's a lot to explain especially the groundwork of what IP laws are in the first place. Perhaps as time goes by, there will be lesser explanations on the theory and more focus on how these laws are applicable in real life so it depends on whether you can deal with this part and wait a while for the story to dish out less theories and bring up questions and solutions on how things are done in practice.

The first episode went to great lengths to explain the importance of doing copyright and trademark registration in the right and timely manner as illustrated by the supposed leak of confidential information by the designer Fujisaki Aki (Yoshine Kyoko) to a friend working in a rival company during a social gathering. Despite everyone's insistence that she should just admit her wrongdoing for the "accidental leak", she refuses to do so since she is very certain that she hasn't done anything that others are accusing her of. Of course, her innocence is proven by the end of the episode but that's not without a lot of stress and self-blame which made her wonder repeatedly if she should take the fall so that the whole issue can be resolved. It takes a lot of courage and self-belief to stand against the tide so despite her meek and scaredy-cat character, Aki looks like someone who can become a strong figure to fight for what's right as she knows more about IP issues in her new department.

On the other hand, fans of Shigeoka Daiki will probably be quite happy to see him talk a lot as the patent attorney Kitawaki Masami who gets sent from the parent company to the beverage company where Aki works. Since he has to explain the IP issues to the clueless staff at the beverage company, he naturally gets a fair bit of screentime. I haven't read the original manga but I am guessing that Kitawaki and Aki will probably just become great buddies although I wouldn't mind a bit of romantic involvement between them.

It looks likely that the drama will spend a number of episodes to touch on the IP issues facing the beverage company before delving into the pasts of the key characters or some major back story that is about to be revealed. For example, it looks like Kitawaki and Aki's boss Takanashi (Tokiwa Takako) knew each other from before and she seems a bit hostile towards him. Kitawaki's boss Matasaka (Tomosaka Rie) also hinted at a past event about him which had resulted in becoming so cold and harsh towards others. At the same time, Takanashi also seems to have something going on with rival company's director Tadokoro Joseph (Tanabe Seiichi) - maybe a past feud? I am anticipating that these questions won't be answered that early so you probably need some patience to sit through the first few episodes.

In short, this was a decent debut episode which provides a fair bit of information while dropping some hooks for the viewers to continue watching so as to find out what's going on with the characters. What I'm concerned about is, will the individual cases be enough to hold everyone's attention till the main plot takes centrestage? Or will the viewers lose interest very soon if the next few episodes turn out to be very predictable?

Preview of "Nichiyou no yoru gurai wa..." - Spring 2023

Title: Nichiyou no yoru gurai wa... 日曜の夜ぐらいは...
Official website: here
Official Instagram: here
Official Twitter: here
O.A. Start Date: 30 April 2023
Timeslot: Sundays at 10pm
Broadcast by: TV Asahi
Theme Song: "Que sera sera" by Mrs. GREEN APPLE
Cast: Seino Nana, Kishii Yukino, Nukumi Meru, Okayama Amane, Kawamura Kazuma, Wakui Emi & Miyamoto Nobuko

Monday, April 24, 2023

Thoughts about "Pending Train" Ep 1 (spoiler alert!)

After watching the first episode, this drama came across pretty strongly as a mix of 2002's "Long Love Letter ~ Hyouryu Kyoushitsu ~" starring Tokiwa Takako & Kubozuka Yosuke (FujiTV) and 2013's "Limit" starring Sakuraba Nanami, Tsuchiya Tao & Kubota Masataka (TV Tokyo). I'm not sure how much CG was used or if there was an actual location where they filed the scenes outdoors but for now, the visuals look pretty convincing and stunning. However, one thing which seemed a bit contradictory was how the train carriage was stuck in a seemingly lush forest with lots of green moss i.e. suggesting that there's a river or water supply which enables this growth of vegetation. In the opposite direction of the tunnel though, there was this huge desert and volcanic-looking dark soil and rocks with tall mountains which made it look like there was no way plants could grow in this dry environment. Perhaps this difference in these two "worlds" separated by the tunnel could be explained more clearly as the story progresses.

In "LLL", it featured people trapped in a senior high school after an earthquake and they ended up in a desolate world in the future where there was nothing but wilderness, desserts and even monsters out to kill them. At the very least though, they had some emergency food supplies and subsequently could plant vegetables to eat. "Pending Train" also hinted that the passengers and staff who were in the same carriage had ended up in the future - supposedly 30 years later - after an earthquake supposedly detached their carriage from the train. The issue is, there are no supplies of food and water on a commuter train like this although it's mentioned that beverages supposedly being transported in another carriage or on the same train were missing. Since we saw in this episode that someone had actually spotted these drinks before this revelation and had kept quiet about this fact, it is natural to suspect him for hiding these supplies for his own survival but there may be a twist ahead for all we know.

On the other hand, "Limit" didn't have any time-leap element and the people who got lost were still in the real world. However, their survival hinged on killing one another when suspicion and human nature forced them to react extremely. It is still too early to tell but I wouldn't be surprised if the survivors (supposedly 68 of them but a group of high school boys are presumed dead now) start attacking one another in order to live till the end.

These similarities might make viewers compare this drama with other predecessors so whether it can stand out from the pack and go down an unique path still remains to be seen. However, I think the basic groundwork of introducing the key characters and their traits was done pretty well so hopefully when the story gets moving faster from next week, it may give an indication on the potential quality of this drama.

Be warned though that the story already gave away a big spoiler in the first minute or so when Kamishiraishi Moka's character Hatano Sae was featured running to catch a train with a baby and a suitcase in tow. And considering the fact that she was the narrator of the story and recounting what happened from the perspective of someone who had gone through the whole incident, she is most likely to have survived the ordeal to become a mother later on, if the baby is hers. There is also a likelihood that the baby may not be hers but either way, she still had to get out of that predicament first in order to do what she was doing at the beginning of the episode. Unless...the narrator changes or someone else also joins her in narrating the story, chances are the other people did not survive by the end of the drama OR there were only a few who did. The question then becomes, did they get out of their situation due to their own efforts like in "LLL" or did they rely on external help like in "Limit"? The thing is, we don't know how long it had passed since the end of the incident to that scene in the beginning. It could jolly well be that Sae married someone else years later if she did not survive with one of the two male leads.

This episode had to introduce quite a number of people at one go but the basic information and key character traits given are enough for now to form a basic opinion of these people. It is obvious that Kayashima Naoya (Yamada Yuuki) and Shirahama Yuuto (Akaso Eiji) would probably be at loggerheads for the entire drama with some bromance moments. Although Sae seems besotted with Yuuto, it does look like Naoya will see her in a different light as time goes by so a love triangle may be in the works since extreme situations can produce romance in the most unexpected way.

For now, it is unclear if there is someone among the passengers who may be responsible for what has happened so whether there will be a culprit hunt is still up in the air. However, everyone having their own issues and background stories will mean that there will be clashes in values and mindsets as people try to ensure their own survival. Bloodshed looks likely but it could be due to external forces or infighting.

The three leads have done reasonably well within this episode with the most interesting character being Naoya. Especially when you consider how Yamada Yuuki looked last season as a law lecturer, the change in visuals and his acting style were quite drastic. His outburst towards the end the episode when the reason why he had to survive was revealed - that was handled pretty well. Akaso's character Yuuto seemed to be holding himself back and was rather subdued as he tried to make good of his pledge to save others in this extreme situation. However, there might be a chance that he might show his true emotions especially if the stress of trying to ensure others' survival gets to him at some point. As for Sae, her positivity seemed to be self-induced rather a natural thing from within and we haven't seen why she is behaving the way she did i.e. trying so hard to be positive. There is more to be explored for all the characters so it will take some time whether we will get to decide if a character is going to be endearing or detestable or a mix of two extremes with reasons we can understand and empathise with.

At the moment, it doesn't look like those in the current world can get to these people any time soon so it might be a case of the people stuck in the future having to do more in order to return to the reality they used to know rather than waiting for rescue efforts. For now, this looks like a promising drama to watch so I'll give it a few more episodes before deciding to watch it till the end.