Thursday, October 10, 2013

Soko o Nantoka

Back in 2004, there was this fun little movie called Swing Girls. When I saw Ueno Juri on screen, I knew she had that certain something. Swing Girls also had Kanjiya Shihori and Motokariya Yuika. Talk about talent! Motokariya Yuika has always had supporting roles in a lot of great shows especially Gonzo and Lady Joker.  Her agent knows how to get her involved in good shows.

While I hate overpushed idols, I always like when actors who have paid their dues doing supporting supporting roles get a chance to show what they can do. When I was doing my write up on Lady Joker, I was thinking I have not seen Motokariya Yuika as the lead in any show, which lead me to Soko o Nantoka.

The gimmick of Soko o Nantoka is that Motokariya Yuika plays Rakuko, a new lawyer who grew up poor and is saddled with debts. In true jdorama fashion, she doesn't look like she's slumming it except for eating a lot of nukazuke. If there are two Japanese foods that I will never try, they would be nukazuke and natto. Like Tokkan, she is partnered with a veteran with a muddy past who doesn't like her at first as she grows into her job.

I really hated the first three episodes of Soko o Nantoka. Its a lawyer show in name, but its just another one of those trying to uncover something's true feelings/fix people's lives doramas ie Shinzanmono with the forced over-sentimental ending. Why do so many jdoramas fall into this pattern? I wanted to quit this show cause it just felt so cliched but kept watching for reading practice.

Soko o Nantoka is a pretty crap show until the chikan episode. Very much a dorama version of Soredemo Ikite Yuku. It had a sappy ending but it didn't feel forced. The last two episodes were pretty good too with Taruko sensei from Suzuki sensei in a two part story.

The second half was better when the stories got more personal and more shoujo manga-like. After all, Soko o Nantoka is based on a shoujo manga. The straight up 'legal' stories in the first half were less legal and more generic sappy stories. Its when the Soko o Nantoka is a straight up shoujo manga story with legal elements that it works better although the two best stories in the series, the chikan and fire story were more of the serious variety.

As for Motokariya Yuika, she's not Ueno Juri but she's not Takei Emi either. I want to see her play the lead in a serious movie.Watchable second half with three stand out episodes.

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