** Get the subtitles here.
When I first saw Ono Machiko and Eguchi Yosuke in the cast, I was looking forward to this drama. I like both of them and the kid is also from Mother Game, so more points given prior to watching. Upon watching however, it’s kinda disappointing. I hate to break it out to you folks who are fans of either actors/actresses, I just think it’s a letdown and a waste of their talents. I want to stress however, that both of them are actually good in their respective roles. It’s the screenplay that I have some issues with.
Before I get into the nitty gritty part of the review, let’s go through what the show is about. Both Mina (Ono) and Shinji (Eguchi) are a couple who have no child of their own because Mina wants to aim for professional status as a pianist, which is unlikely at this point. Shinji is patient and accepts the condition. One day, a mysterious boy shows up at their backyard and couple more times after that. The same boy, the same house. They file a report and the boy is taken in by the authorities.
When Shinji suggests that they adopt the abandoned boy, much to Mina’s surprise and reluctance, Domoto from Child Consultation Center deals with them. Episode 2 basically focuses on the tedious and vicious interviews they have to undergo for evaluation as adoptive parents.
We then find out that in reality, Shinji and Mina have their own secrets which they don’t tell each other, hence the disastrous interview sessions. However, the outcome of the evaluation is positive so they get to adopt the boy.
The boy who Shinji later named as Hajime joins their family. Hajime is oddly attracted to Mina’s piano playing. That’s also the reason why he keeps appearing at Mina’s house. Episode 3 shows Hajime’s period of rebellion and testing both Mina and Shinji’s patience.
Acting wise, like I said, both Ono and Eguchi are great. Though I find Shinji a bit too talkative, it’s not over the top and bearable. In fact, I feel Eguchi finds a good balance to portray a friendly, enthusiastic and outgoing character. He’s the opposite of Mina. Mina is the quieter and calmer partner. She’s also passive and her initial reluctance to adopt Hajime shows. Ono exerts this kind of awkwardness well during her scenes with Hajime and I like that.
Onto the parts I’m not fond of. The screenplay seems too generic and dull. The script is predictable, it’s like you already know what’s gonna play out and how the characters would react. There are predictable shows but at least they make it entertaining. Something is lacking here. While I think the plot is intriguing because it deals with the adoption process, an insight into the adoptive parents, how they try to connect with a complete stranger and treat him like their own child, the difficulties and whatnot, I still can’t be really bothered to find out what happens to this family later in the show. The supporting characters don’t feel like they serve any purpose too with such minimal screentime.
I’m usually a fan of family dramas and this would have been right up my alley if not for the plain and flat execution. This isn’t gonna be a good comparison but anyways, it’s like watching a comedy but you’re not laughing. I’m not saying it’s bad, still watchable but not the kind of family drama I was hoping for. If I were to compare, it’s like Hayako sensei last season, which I dropped. I’m not asking for flashy or grand directing but even something like Kiseki no Hito (which is quirky but has a big heart) seems better.
Giving this another episode because of Ono and Eguchi. I feel there are things they can explore further. For example, they can dig into both Shinji and Mina’s darker pasts a little bit more than just giving us a few scenes here and there, then brushing it off in episode 2. I like the revelation scene when Mina’s mother actually commits suicide (based on her memory) but then that’s it. I feel the show can go the darker route but judging by how hard it tries to stay within the ‘heart-warming’ route, I don’t think it’s gonna happen.