There might be something good this season after all.
Starring: Maki Horikita, Aibu Saki, Saito Takumi, Sakuraba Nanami, Mamiya Shotaro
What it’s about: Recent college grad Tezuka Haru has had no luck with her job search and on a whim decides to apply to be a pilot. Though she’s initially willing to take any job that will accept her, she falls in love with flying and makes it her goal to become a pilot.
Thoughts: There are a few reasons I like Miss Pilot :
1) For once, Maki seems comfortable in her role and though Haru is a little too chirpy, she doesn’t grate my nerves
2) No one gives bullshit reasons for why Haru shouldn’t be a pilot
3) Aibu Saki’s character is awesome. Watching Chisato practice smiling in episode two was hilarious.
4) Characters that are introduced for an episode don’t take up the whole episode with their mundane problems (yay for airports!).
What keeps Miss Pilot from being really good is that there isn’t really anything challenging about it. While Haru started out interesting because of her apathetic and somewhat naïve attitude towards her job, she’s become the stereotypical passionate protagonist that believes doing her job means making others happy. Yawn. Despite that, the execution is decent as we never spend too much time on one area of training and the characters are somewhat interesting (though Saito Takumi really isn’t doing anything for me though. His character’s so whiny.), so I’ll stick with it.
Starring: Kamenashi Kazuya, Tabe Mikako, Mimura, Tamaki Koji
What it’s about: Tokyo Bandwagon is a second-hand bookstore run by the Hotta family in Tokyo’s Shitamachi area. With four generations living under one roof, it’s never quiet, especially when Ganato (Tamaki Koji), an old rock star, gets into a fight with his second son Ao (Kame). A family of meddlers, the Hotta family helps solve neighborhood mysteries.
Thoughts: I liked the first episode of Tokyo Bandwagon, but nothing’s really compelling me to continue watching. The show feels cozy with the large family that knows everyone in the area and I like the family interactions and the narration by the deceased grandmother, but the first mystery plot was rather meh. I’m not expecting something mind-blowing since these are neighborhood problems, but I’ve seen the runaway parent story so many times that I had to resist shutting it off because I already know how it will play out (well, except for Ganato playing on the roof and then getting arrested. I don’t think anyone could have predicted that). If I’m bored, I might give Tokyo Bandwagon another shot, but not in the near future.
Starring: Nagase Tomoya, Gouriki Ayame, Kashii Yu, Watabe Atsuro
What it’s about: Nagase plays the crooked cop Kurokochi Keita who uses any means necessary to solve a case, even if that means breaking the law. Naturally, his new partner is the straight and narrow genius rookie Seike Mashiro (Gouriki Ayame). The two work together to bring down the preferectural governor Sawatari Kazunari (Watabe Atsuro) who is involved in several unsolved crimes, particularly the 300 million yen robbery.
Thoughts: I’ve only seen one episode, but I really like Kurokochi. What can I say, I like anti-heroes and Kurokochi definitely isn’t your typical protagonist. Kurokochi does not walk a fine line between good and bad, he freely goes back and forth from both sides, depending on which one suits his needs. For the sake of comedy, Kurokochi’s a little quirky and I guess it’s supposed to make the audience like him (this is being broadcast on TBS after all) in spite of all the bad things he does, but there’s a disconnect between the jokey, weird side and the side that hides the bodies of the fellow officers he murdered. Maybe if Nagase was a stronger actor, I’d buy it, but right now it feels out of place and takes a little bit of the enjoyment out of the drama.
I’m sure many people will groan to see Gouriki in a drama again, but her character is such a non-entity that it doesn’t matter. Seike is supposed to be the foil, and I can see that they’re setting up some type of character arc for her, but she’s a flat character. She’s basically the audience, merely reacting to everything Kurokochi does the way we do. There’s nothing interesting about her interactions with Kurokochi besides the fact they reveal what his motives are.
Despite my grumbling about the main characters, the show manages to make it work. Kurokochi does things that you just cannot imagine and it will be interesting to see how far he’ll go to take Sawatari down. I won’t know until I watch the next episode, but I might stick to covering this one for the season.