Subtitle is available here.
You know how some parents aren’t meant to be parents? I had this thought while watching this because Tsumabuki Satoshi’s character, Takashi is the kind of husband or father nobody wants. He’s not a drug addict or criminal per se, but he’s like a pollen that floats in the air and goes wherever the wind carries him. In other words, there’s no stability, assurance or security in his life. As such, he’s separated from his wife and there’s a love-hate relationship with his daughter, Haru.
Having lived with a ‘strict’ mother who thinks colourful clothes are too flashy for her daughter, Haru gets a glimpse of a carefree life after Takashi ‘kidnaps’ her one day. What follows is a brief getaway from the life Haru grows up knowing and strengthening her bond with a father that feels like a stranger.
The approach for this Special is more light hearted than I expected, tinged with humor and cynic as we follow their short holiday. From Haru’s narration, we know she doesn’t have a particular fondness towards Takashi. The only connection they share is that they’re related by blood. On a normal school day, she would not have agreed to follow him but since it’s summer holiday with no plan in mind, she goes by impulse. What could possible go wrong anyway?
They encounter several problems, such as having insufficient money for food, transport and lodging, thus, resorting to walking and looking for cheap places like temples for a night or two. Perhaps, the most serious is when Takashi almost gets arrested for being mistaken as a kidnapper but that is resolved as quickly as it happens.
Fatherhood isn’t something that comes easily for Takashi. But he makes effort in the only way he knows – embrace life as it is and appreciate the little things.
There’s palpable chemistry between Satoshi and the kid, Toyoshima Hana as parent-child and this duo is a pleasure to watch. Some of Haru’s lines go way beyond her age but I find them still in the acceptable range judging from her broken family background. Things like that usually force children to mature faster than their peers.
There’s no melodrama or building tension, more like slice-of-life, exploring father-daughter bond without really going deeper. Perhaps, that’s the only thing I feel lacking in this Special. I don’t need heartwrenching scenes but a little depth would have helped. Instead, the script feels guarded and pulls back almost immediately when there’s a chance for both Takashi and Haru to cross that line. When they finally get to the heavier scene in the final 5 minutes, it already feels slightly overdue even though I like the life lesson Takashi gives Haru.
Overall, both Satoshi and Hana’s performances transcend the seemingly mundane script, making this palatable. Though, I still would’ve preferred it if they reveal the ‘transaction’ between Takashi and Haru’s mother. I keep waiting for some twist but they never came.