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Friday, January 31, 2014

Tokyo Bandwagon (2013)



Country: Japan
Format: drama in 10 episodes
Genre: romance, slice of life
Cast: Kamenashi Kazuya, Tabe Mikako, Mimura, Kaneko Nobuaki, Taira Airi, Ozowa Runa, Kimino Yuma, Jonathan Sherr, Inohara Yoshihiko, Katagiri Hairi, Bengal, Mitsuishi Ken, Tamaki Koji, Kaga Mariko
Synopsis: Tokyo Bandwagon is old second-hand bookstore, where 4 generations of Hotta family members live together. They might me located on a small area, but there is a lot happening. Especially after Ao, grandson of the head of the store, meets with sweet innocent Suzumi who has several tricks to play.
Rating: 5/5
It officially became one of my favorite Japanese dramas! I have heard a lot of opinions about it, but I must say that I simply enjoyed and still adore it.

Ao is the youngest of Ganato's three children. He is actually an half-brother to Kon and Aiko,
 because he was born from a different mother. That has hurt him a lot, even when he tries not to show it out. He is really funny character, because when he is sober he is trying to be everything that his father is not and is always arguing with him, but as soon as he gets drunk he is talking about same things as his father - love. He actually is the most similar to his father compared to other kids. Everyone hope that he is taking over the store, but he is already working as travel guide and has buried the thought of being the legate. Due to the fact that he has very beautiful face and his considering about other people, he gets stuck with stalker-wives - women who want to marry him,
even if he does not.
That all is viewed as Ao is playboy.. just like his father. But when it comes to Suzumi, everything is different. For the first time Ao feels that there is love, there is someone to stay together with for the rest of the lives. I know that they do not share those myheartisgoingtoburstout moments, but you can see how much they love each other! Kamenashi Kazuya is amazing, because he was able to act that look in his eyes what you see in real lovers eyes. Their love and relationship can be called most "Japanese-like" or traditional, but I think that it is so damn cute and pure and true. My only final thought about Kamenashi Kazuya was that please someone, anyone marry Kame-chan and give him a baby, because he looks freaking adorable being a dad!

Suzumi starts out as mysterious character. There are so many lies and unsaid things around her, that it makes you wonder who she really is. She has fierce personality and says what she thinks of things and she has no problem saying out loud the truth about her and Ao's bedroom talks. She surprises Ao a lot with her actions and she is able to read him through his eyes really easily. I love when she is teasing Ao, she just has to make annoyed face and already Ao loses his head and tries to explain that things are not as they seem.
To her Ao is someone who was there for her when she had difficult times and accepted him even after all the mistakes she did. Of course, at first she does not go to the store to really get married to Ao - they only just met the other day - but sometimes there is thing called love that happens to right people at right time. I loved Tabe Mikako in this role. I have always liked her, but this time it was really sweet and strong acting. Suzumi and Ao became my favorite drama couple and they would have swept the score of Drama awards if I would have had seen it before the New Year.
I also was impressed by Kaneko Nobuaki who plays Kon - Ao's older brother. He is married to Ami
and they have son Kento. Kon is said to be former delinquent, but actually he is softhearted freelance writer. Writing is also the reason why he does not want to take over the store and tries to push it onto Ao's shoulders. Kon is really sharp-minded in many things, but most of the time he likes to be sure or do things without other knowing, which is something he received from his father. Ami married into the Hotta family by the time their grandmother died and Kento was going to be born. She is sweet woman who does not show her personal problems out, because she does not want to worry others, which only saddens Kon who has his own regrets.
Ao's and Kon's older sister is Aiko, who is single mother to Kayo. Aiko is very gentle, on her free
time she is painting (really good paintings) and she was big help when they tried to get Tokyo Bandwagon back on its feet after grandmothers death. She and Ami are a bit similar, because they both like to keep their problems to themselves. No one knows who Kayo's father is, that makes her really close to Ao, who also did not have both real parents. Besides, their age difference is smaller and sometimes they act that they are more like cousins than uncle and niece. Kayo is the only one who does not like Suzumi and finds her really suspicious, but most of people think that it is from jealousy that Ao is spending so much time with Suzumi.
Aiko has two suitors - businessman Fujishima and artist Maddock. Fujishima gets to know about Tokyo Bandwagon in the start of the series. He is rather unique character, because despite being very successful owner of several companies, he has that funny child-like side of him and he is no match for Kanichi. It is sad that Maddock is almost the only character who did not have his own story to tell. I think Maddock's accent was the only thing that I disliked about "Tokyo Bandwagon", but I really could not help myself, because they made Jonathan Sherr to speak with HORRIBLE accent (hope you agree that mine accent is not that bad compared to Maddock). He actually can speak Japanese without that accent too.
Ganato is Aiko's, Kon's and Ao's father, who most of the time is spending somewhere off, so he
comes and goes as he wishes. He is rocker and you can see him with his guitar in every episode. Like I said at Ao and Kon sections, boys have gotten their personalities from father. Ganato keeps talking about "love" to everyone, but at the same time he always knows more than he shows out. Since Ganato is free-spirited traveler, he is not included to "possible heirs" of Tokyo Bandwagon, even though he is Kanichi and Sachi's only son. Tamaki Koji has not have many roles and based on what I have heard about him he is no my favorite person, but I really liked him in Tokyo Bandwagon.
The head of the family is Kanichi, who is also the owner of Tokyo Bandwagon. He is living by the
traditional teachings of Hotta family and that's why the whole family is following the rules. He can be really strict when it comes to things that are not according to his views and he is very protective when things come to Aiko and Kayo. Sachi was the grandmother who died several years ago. She is like a narrator of the drama, though for some episodes it looks like they forgot about her. From time to time Kento is believed to see her in front of the altar while no one else sees her. Though I believe that many time Kanichi is able to feel her presents.

There are also Manami, Ken and Yuen, who are family friends to Hotta family. Sometimes they are big help to them, but there are also times when they cause a lot of more trouble for everyone.
Kamenashi Kazuya and Tamaki Koji formed a Hottake BAND for the drama and sang the theme song "Sayonara ~ Arigato". I was stunned in the end when I realized the real meaning behind the song, but to understand that you must watch the whole drama. I just kept crying, because I have never seen that the theme song is used so well in the drama. 

I was not even annoyed when their outfits were not the best, because it all just added the
home-feeling to it. I think "Home" and "Family" are two words that represent the drama the best. The most home-like drama I have watched and the end just adds this feeling. I do not know how many times I laughed and cried during watching it. There is actually a lot of problems and tragic which can also be found in Korean dramas, but it all is written so easily and natural that it does not seem forced. I do think it is one of the best Omori Mika scripts, because it is thought through really well. They have connected traditional Japan with modern Japan.
As I started watching it at the same time as some Korean dramas, then most of the time I was just fed up with all that drama and back stabbing, so "Tokyo Bandwagon" was the most refreshing thing to watch on Earth. If you want something that is real and pure, then that is it! It is definitely worth watching!


SPOILER-review: Some funny mind-blowing facts. Because Suzumi is half-sister to Kayo and Ao is Kayo's uncle, then for Suzumi's and Ao's child Kayo is actually both her cousin and aunt. Kon's and Aiko's mother was never shown on the drama - not even on the photo. 

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