A LIFE ep2-3 [review]

You can get subtitles here.

The cast is a powerhouse, quite an ensemble. Every single one of them is doing great thus far, so performance-wise, I’ve nothing to complain. I really love this cast. If there’s one thing I’m not fully convinced about yet for this show is the plot. I’m enjoying it just fine but the ‘reviewer mode’ in me subconsciously looks for anything that’s lacking. But I’ll talk about that at the end of this post.

The characters are mostly appealing. Besides Masao, I find most of them likeable. Firstly, Kazuaki, instant favorite, a talented surgeon (heart and brain) who doesn’t give a damn about hospital politics when it comes to saving patients. Once he sets his mind about something, he makes sure to get it done, even if it means quitting the hospital (ep3) if he can operate on the patient elsewhere.



He’s like a mellow version of Daimon Michiko. As such, he’s a bit of a loner, nobody wants to get involved with a trouble maker right? Except for one surgical nurse, Shibata who becomes his partner in crime. Another thing is, he’s not preachy. He gets the message across in a few lines but impactful enough to linger. So I like that because goodness, I don’t think I can stand a character preaching about being an ideal doctor for 10 minutes straight just to make a point.


Does anyone realize he’s wearing a wig?

Masao is a complex character, tough nut to crack at the moment. I can’t make up my mind whether he still loves Mifuyu or just wants to snatch her from Kazuaki. He and Mifuyu, despite being husband and wife are sleeping in separate rooms and they don’t seem affectionate as a couple. I don’t see LOVE between them at all! This brings us to question Mifuyu’s feelings too. Has this relationship become stale or the fact that Mifuyu never loved him for real and took him as a replacement for Kazuaki when he left? He’s also having an affair with the lawyer.


We know he wants to be Director, to gain control of everything and everyone. He’s obviously envious of Kazuaki but I still need to know the root for this. I want an episode solely just to show us the backstory between these 3 characters if we were to fully understand what really happened 10 years ago. With a solid backstory, I would be able to relate to them much more because as of now, there’s a void waiting to be filled.


Next, we have a character mainly for comic relief. Igawa is the son of a hospital director so he’s living in a bubble, thinking his position now is all due to his own ability and not an ounce from his father’s influence. He’s still young and has much to learn (ep2 is a good lesson). He has love-hate relationship with Kazuaki. At some point, he admires his talent but also hates how he goes around breaking rules without caring how it affects others. He’s also a very curious man, just watch how he’s sniffing around eavesdropping outside Kazuaki’s office lol. He has feelings for Shibata but girl is too smart for him. I LOL everytime he tries to impress her and then gets shut off almost instantly.


Shibata is curt and doesn’t speak much (at least not to Igawa). Even so, her short lines usually pack a punch. She’s a smart nurse and is the only one who can match Kazuaki’s mind especially in the surgery room. They have great chemistry, at least from work perspective. I like how they’re both professional, respect each other and do not let politics or influence get in the way. They’re focused on saving patients and that’s exactly why they hit it off right away. Kazuaki doesn’t even think twice when she asks him to bring her along if he ever quits.



Kazuaki – Mifuyu
Initially, I’m a bit skeptical about Mifuyu because she seems clueless about the hospital politics and also emotionally fragile especially in first episode. Another thing is when you’re a doctor, wouldn’t you suspect something if symptoms like painful headaches start occurring? Red flags! And yet, she doesn’t seem to be bothered. However, I’m warming up to her in ep3 after she realizes what’s important for her as a doctor now. She shows some character development and now, is she going to realize her dormant feelings for Kazuaki down the line? Kazuaki seems to keep a distance, maybe out of respect since they’re no longer together. But those secret glances they give each other! I think we’re all just waiting for this ship to sail.


Igawa – Shibata

Unrequited love or mutual? All this while, Shibata’s been cold towards him, sometimes to the point of just walking away when Igawa tries to strike a conversation. Poor guy. But that preview in ep4 on the beach, Shibata was smiling so this gives some hope that maybe she’s just being tsundere all the while. Maybe she doesn’t mind hooking up with Igawa, but not this version of him. She already gave him a brief lecture in ep3 to make him come to his senses so what if Igawa changes down the line? Would she warm up to that version of him?


I need to know what this is about

Even with an excellent cast, there’s still something lacking for me. Minor gripe and nothing major that would make me drop the show. But I still feel the need to point this out since this is a review.

Plot-wise, to be perfectly honest, it’s a bit clichéd. What’s bugging me is the hospital politics. They can be quite annoying at times to the point of wondering “Are these people even doctors?” Think Doctor X, but a toned down version of it (with less exaggeration). Well, at least we don’t hear minions saying “Gyoi!” or doctors acting like kids here. Then, throw in romance and you have jealousy, hatred, betrayal, unrequited love and the lot. It’s entertaining but not something you’d go “Wow, impressive!” if you know what I mean. At least, not yet for me so this may change as the story progresses.

So what do you think of the show so far? Feel free to share your opinions below!

On the side note: If you want a medical drama that is heartwarming with excellent acting, loveable characters and educational, BUT WITHOUT all the politics fiasco, you can always try Kounodori. One of those rare Japanese medical dramas that doesn’t dwell with the overused political mess but a show truly focused on the doctors and patients. Comes with a warning though; You’ll need Kleenex. Lots of it.




11 thoughts on “A LIFE ep2-3 [review]

  1. Thanks to your fast and quick sub I’m following this every week 🙂

    Knowing Mifuyu and Masao always slept in separate rooms left me questioning about her daughter (because like you said, seems there’s no love). And why Masao pointed Kazuaki to left the hospital back then? Only to gave Kazuaki more chance to operate, or Masao ambition to become director, or there’s another hidden reason? Hhm..wonder if something more ever happened between Kazuaki-Mifuyu

    • Yeah, I really want to know what happened 10 years ago. I know it’s in the human nature to be jealous but it has to start from somewhere. Was it because Masao loved Mifuyu but she was with Kazuaki at the time, which sparked the jealousy OR it’s also because Kazuaki is a better surgeon compared to him?

      All they’re showing in the flashbacks so far is him watching both Kazuaki and Mifuyu on the bench practicing and him suggesting to send Kazuaki overseas. I need more info for better emotional impact because I want to understand Masao’s jealousy and hatred towards Kazuaki. I don’t think it’s as simple as love to cause such intense hate.

  2. Avan, you really know how to burst a dream-bubble! I thought it was estd by now that Okita & Shibata are soul mates bcos they care about saving lives, not power, money or recognition – plus frankly, Shibata is not a clueless loose cannon like – cough – Mifuyu, who acts like Alice in Wonderland (and a hanger-on). Maybe the writer thinks she looks ‘cute’ but my god she’s insufferable! That tumor is the only thing working in that brain of hers……The script focusses more on the medical-problem-of-the-week than personal dynamics (for e.g. between hubby-wifey), which is strange. The drama is boring, I don’t think it has re-run value, but am watching because of KT……again thanks for the subs.

    • I knew this post about the pairings would crush some hearts (but I’m glad to know there are Okita/Shibata supporters out there!) I secretly ship them too but that ship has sunk even before it sails so…I’ll settle with Igawa, only if he gets rid of that ego and not trying to impress every single person.

      I’m kinda annoyed too about how Mifuyu is written. It reminds me of Kanno Miho in Suna no Tou where she suffers the same thing, being relegated to a weakling. Well, hopefully after ep3, things changed for the better since she’s begun to realize it’s OK to say NO to her husband and father.

  3. asano really show how powerful his acting
    igawa really cute when try to show of to fumino
    but story really go no where it like they don’t want we know mush of the past
    because it can make we lost interested.

  4. I have now watched the first episode and a bit beyond. I like Kazuaki, of course, as well as Shibata. Masao is somewhat puzzling. And I agree with all you say about Mifuyu.

    Now, a couple of things bother me: Masao has an Xray /MRI? of Mifuyu’s brain. Didn’t she have any questions about it?, like, why take it, what does it show, etc. And anyone would have questions about those headaches.

    The other thing is that heart surgeons do not normally operate on the brain. General surgery is one thing, but to operate on the brain or the heart normally requires a lot of extra training, meaning surgeons choose one or the other, at least in the US.

    • Mifuyu doesn’t know Masao has her MRI. And by ep5, it seems Masao has asked the MRI staff to not tell Mifuyu anything about the tumor. So Mifuyu is left in the dark and thinks nothing is wrong but she’s getting worried in ep5 because the headaches are getting severe, she fainted, starts forgetting stuffs.

      I’ll talk more in detail for ep5 review. There are questionable things which I have to address. I don’t wanna spoil too much yet since you’ve just started.

      About Okita being able to operate on heart and brain, I guess his character here is supposed to be some kind of very very talented doctor lol he started with pediatrics + neurosurgery for kids –> heart —> brain (adults). However, I don’t know if this is possible in reality to be a specialist for more than one area, I’m not a doctor. Maybe someone else can shed some light?

  5. In the US, it takes 1 year of general surgery and 5 years of neurosurgery to become a brain surgeon. To become a heart surgeon: 5 years of general surgery and 1 to 2 years of vascular surgery. So it would be hard to become both a heart and a brain surgeon in the US. So many years of training. Of course Okita had training in Japan before going to Seattle. Pediatric surgery: 5 yrs, plus 2 of full time involvement in a pediatric fellowship.
    Well, it’s a drama, I will give them a little slack!

    • I see, thanks for the info! I don’t know how Okita does it but like you said, since it’s a drama, I guess we’ll have to suspend our disbelief ^^;;

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