Abe plays the role of Sakurai Shinichi who comes from a family where every generation had junior high qualifications only. After marrying his wife Kanako (Fukada) who also graduated from junior high only, Shinichi is working as a salesman in a real estate company. Due to his lack of education qualifications, he encounters many difficulties and setbacks in his life. As such, he decides to make sure that his only daughter Kaori (Yamada Mikuu) who is in Primary 5, doesn't go through the same hardship as he did and takes action to prepare her for the junior high entrance exam of the top junior high school for a period of 500 days while juggling his work despite Kanako's reservations and objections about doing this.
Abe who did not know that the novel was based on the author's own story, said that it is not just a tale about preparing for the entrance exam and that it will be very interesting and full of passion like a sports-themed drama. With regard to Yamada who was selected from 250 hopefuls during an audition, Abe praised her for being quick to catch on and thinks that it will be fun to play a family with her and Fukada.
In order to pray for the success of the drama and that all those taking their entrance exams can be successful, the trio went to Yushima Tenmangu on 17 November which is famous for its knowledge god to pray and wrote their wishes on the ema tablets.
Other co-stars include Kaname Jun who plays Tokugawa Naoyasu, Shinichi's ex-classmate who has the complete opposite background as he graduated from University of Tokyo, Kazama Shunsuke who plays Shinichi's junior at work named Narasaki Tetsuya, Kobayashi Kaoru who plays Sakurai Kazuo i.e. Shinichi's father who is a carpenter, Koshiba Fuuka who plays Kaori's form teacher, Wakadanna (Shonan no Kaze), Minagawa Sarutoki, Okada Koki and Kawamura Yosuke.
Sources: Sanspo / Sponichi / Oricon / Eiga.com