Saturday, October 10, 2009

Ninkyo Helper eps 10+11

I will never go to the park when drunk.

Ok, Ninkyo Helper has ended and we are no closer to finding out why all the Hayabusa leaders were sent to the aged care facility in order to select the next boss. Was it to see who had the best leadership skills in a non yakuza environment? Was it an excuse to give them training in aged care so as to better defraud the system? Or maybe it was the boss's way of giving back to the old people that the yakuza have defrauded with their ore ore schemes. Does it really matter?

To me it does. You've got the other yakuza guy who has been working there for years and a reason is never given. Why allow an underling to work for a poor lodging home? He's only in his early 20s so that means he must have started working there when he was a teenager? How did he get into the Hayabusa group as a kid and get into a position where the boss allows him to work there? Isn't the whole existence of a yakuza group to make money? Maybe the writer decided that there's no really good answer so lets just leave it up to the audience's imagination. The problem with that is unlike District 9, the possibilities are really lame.

The most interesting relationship of the show relegated to side story...

In the end, we have a very unnecessary fight between Hikoichi and gang and the police. Yeah I know Yakuza shows should have a fight at the end but it didn't make sense. If Hikoichi actually felt guilty about defrauding the aged, he could have easily taken over the mantle of boss and ran his own chain of aged care facilities. Why bother with the protest? Hhmm, come to think of it, he could have possibly planned the whole thing to cause I media storm and get people talking but from the last episode it was more of a token resistance to the shutting down of the facility and removal of its residents. Hikoichi could have easily moved the old people to one of the yakuza warehouses and housed them there for the time being.

So who many people have you killed?

The theme for Ninkyo Helper is that the system is fucked and that there is no right answer. Natsukawa Yui wanted to build an efficient empire that could tackle the problem and not place unnecessary stress on the helpers. As she said, the only way to give the best care possible would be for the workers to be volunteers who can devote all their time to the aged. Ninkyo Helper tries to make it a profit vs proper care argument but I think if the purpose of this show were the examination of Japan's aged care system, they would have to look at government funding.

At the end, they talk about government regulations and what not but affordable and decent aged care is only possible with government subsidies and fully government funded aged care centers. The other question is where the money is going to come from? How about local councils who spend so much money on useless road construction projects. Maybe an aged care tax? Aged care insurance is not going to affordable for the average joe. Ninkyo Helper doesn't really want to offer an answer. All its gives at the end is some idealistic line about the meaning of kaigo.

As I've said in previews posts, the best part of the show is Natsukawa Yui and Hikoichi's relationship with Ryota. The whole subject about losing one's memories and the burden on others. How does one cope with the inevitability of such a problem? Its should have been the main story because those three are the only really developed characters in this show. Ultimately, I can't really fault the writer for going the direction that he did. The yakuza element was the hook of the show but took time away from the other elements of the story which were the state of the aged care industry and Natsukawa Yui's story.

Just realised that the head of the aged care centre was in Hachi-one as well.

Ninkyo Helper is still a watchable show despite my complaints and it is augmented by a very good soundtrack. At least it doesn't have those lame scenes in Orthros no Inu that just make me cringe. Kusanagi Tsuyoshi makes a good yakuza and Natsukawa Yui is always good to watch.

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