Kimura Takuya Shinkai Hajime
Shibasaki Kou Ogawa Ayumi
Tsutsumi Shinichi Kouda Kazuki
Kuroki Hitomi Togashi Noriko
Uchiyama Rina Fukauka Urara
Takenaka Naoto Naito Jane
Ichikawa Miwako Ogawa Kaori
Ikariya Chosuke Shinkai Ryoji
Akiyoshi Nakao Shinkai Makoto
Yoon Son Ha Pak Mee Suk
TV Station: TBS
Theme Song: Ride on Time performed by Yamashita Tatsuro
Hajime Shinkai (Kimura) is always determined to be a good chief pilot one day but he still got a lot of things to learn. One day, on the flight from Hawaii to Tokyo, the chief pilots back got hurt he asked Hajime to take over for the landing. However, the landing was not as perfect as Hajime thought. He even got criticized by the mechanic, Ayumi Ogawa (Kou Shibasaki) who thought that he should do more practice before he claimed himself as a good pilot. Not only that, Hajime also got told off by another chief pilot, Kouda Kazuki (Tsutsumi Shinichi) who said to him that it was not his right to take over the chief pilots job to do the landing. Hajime feeling so offended by this remark, and called Kouda a cold person and insensitive. As a result, Hajime got suspended for two days. He confessed his annoyance about Capt. Koudas treatment to him to Togashi Noriko (Kuroki Hitomi) another fellow cabin crew, a senior stewardess. During his suspension, Hajime managed to get more acquainted with Ayumi Ogawa, the sultry technician whom Hajime later on fell in love with. He learned that Ayumis parents were died in airplane crash when she was just 12 years old thats why Ayumi decided to be a good mechanic.
While he was still climbing to be chief pilot, Hajime always involved into some problems not only with his colleagues but also with the passengers. One day, when Hajime, Captain Kouda and Captain Jane were on board on not as a pilot but as one of the passengers, Captain Kouda noticed a really bad attitude of one of his colleague, a junior stewardess, Fukaura Urara (Uchiyama Rina). She discriminated her treatment toward one passenger to another. At first, Hajime was asking for an extra blanket because his blanket was taken over by Captain Jane who refused to give him back. Even though that Fukaura agreed to get him one she did not immediately take any action, worst of all she accidentally knocked on Captain Koudas paper cup, luckily the paper cup did not contain any water. Then, another passenger, an old lady who was asking for another drink was also ignored by her. Alas, what she did was fulfilling a celebrity request for a red pen and completely ignored everyones request. After she gave the red pen to him, she flirted with him as well which made Captain Kouda so mad at her. He grabbed her hand and took her in the pantry room. He scolded at her behaviour so harshly which made her cried like a baby. Following that incident, Fukaura decided to sue him for insulting her in front of everyone. Her action has caused surprises to all the crews even the mechanic. Everybody failed to persuade her to cancel the lawsuit. At last, Hajime who started to respect Captain Kouda, was trying to help him out by talking to her. Fukaura did not mind going out and talking to Hajime since she also an eye for him, she forced Hajime to take her out to dinner. Reluctantly Hajime agreed to take her out. When they were in the middle of talking out things somewhere in a pub, Ayumi and Captain Kouda went into the same place. Both sides were so shocked. At that moment Hajime and Ayumis eyes were showing the sign of jealousy. But then they understood each other because they were trying to sort problems. Fukaura asked Hajime to take her home immediately because she saw Captain Kouda and felt so annoyed. When they reached her home, Fukaura again forced Hajime to kiss her or else she would not cancel her lawsuit against Captain Kouda. Hajime refused to fulfill her request and he said to her to think it over about what she was going to do with Captain Kouda, because what he did to her was right and not trying to insult her dignity in front of everybody. Feeling so touched by Hajime, she decided to cancel her lawsuit against Captain Kouda.
Sometime Hajime also got into a fight with nasty passenger on board the plain. There were number of times that Hajime went into dispute with them. For example, there were fights between him and a passenger, a middle age man who was trying to get to Tokyo immediately to save his company. Since a very bad weather occurred they could not land on Narita Airport, and they have to alter to land in Sendai Airport. That man was going so mad and Hajime scolded him to calm down because the most important thing was to save the whole passenger and not only his interest. Even though, coming out from his cabin to talk things out with that passenger was against unethical, but Hajime still did it for the sake of the passengers, fellow cabin crew and the aircraft.
This drama did not only contain the life of Hajime Shinkai and the hardship of being a pilot or cabin crew, it also managed to bring an interesting sub plot on the lead and supporting actors. Hajime has been rather estranged with his father (Ikariya Chosuke), although he always visited him whenever he has time off. His father never understood his job as a pilot. He actually wanted Hajime to help him with his fishery business. Hajime left his family at the age of 19 to enroll himself as a pilot. His younger brother, Makoto (Akiyoshi Naoko) also seemed never agree with his father as well. At this point, Hajime was trying hard to make both of them understood on what his doing. When Makoto decided to quit school, Hajime dragged him back to his fathers house to finish school. He did not want Makoto not to finish high school.
The girl he loved, Ogawa Ayumi, has a sorrow past which has encouraged herself to be a good mechanic aircraft. She was so determined not to let a tragic incident occurred again just like what had happened to her parents. Her parents incident, apparently also intertwined with Captain Koudas life. He was supposed to be the chief pilot on board that airplane, however because he got a bad fever, Captain Koudas shift was replaced by another pilot. He felt so guilty about it and kept on blaming himself since if he was the one on board on that flight, that tragic incident would have never happened. Because of this, he broke up with Togawa Noriko. One day, Ayumi went to him to sort things out in the past. She gave back all of his money whom he secretly sent to her each month to erase his guiltiness. She said to him that tragic incident was nobodys fault it was meant to be like that. She also explained to him that it was not his fault since the system was failed and it was about time that he should get over everything and started a new life. Captain Kouda did not say a word but deep down he thought that all the things she said were right.
Another interesting one was his next door Korean girl neighbour Pak Mee Suk (Yoon Son Ha). She was either crazy or senile because many times she mistakenly recognized him as her former boyfriend. Without any reason, she sometime scolded at him which of course, made Hajime felt so confused. There was a very amusing moment when she said she wanted to move out from the apartment. She accidentally met Hajime again in the hall and Hajime was glad that this crazy neighbour was finally decided to move out from her apartment. Before she left, she told Hajime who was just entering the elevator to be a good postman. I could not help but laughing hearing her remark, perhaps she saw him constantly wearing pilot uniform and a hat that looked a bit similar to a postman hat which made her commenting like that.
The Romance Plot
The romance between Hajime and Ogawa were a bit odd and funny. Both of them had a hard time to confess their feeling to one another. I believe there was hardly any scene that could be said as romantic, except for the ending. However, thats the strong point of this drama because it does not need to have that sort of scene since it might ruin all the spirit of the cabin crews plot. Anyway, Hajime has the pride as big and as long as the Mississippi River and that applies to Ogawa and this made them so difficult to express what they one to one another, even going out on a date. One day, Hajime was trying to ask her out after he returned from his flight to Beijing. Ogawa said to him that she refused to go out and dine in a lousy restaurant or the same restaurant near the airport. Her remark made him somewhat annoyed, hesitantly he agreed with her to meet in a better restaurant. When they met in that restaurant after a very long and exhausting flight for Hajime, Ogawa found him sleeping on a table. She shouted at him and immediately Hajime woke up feeling a bit shocked. Even though he complained to her for waking him up like that but it seemed that he did not mind. He apologized for the delay for meeting her because of another incident occurred on the journey from Beijing to Tokyo. Before Hajime finished his story, he fell asleep again on the table. Ogawas got mixed feeling seeing him doing that in front of her, she was amused and annoyed at the same time. However she understood that he must have had a very rough day, so she decided to let him sleep in that restaurant and went home leaving a note which she slipped on the wiper of his car. I think that scene was so sweet and funny at the same time because I could not help of laughing on what was going on.
The love triangle among Hajime, Ogawa and Fukaura did not last too long in this drama after Fukaura got an extreme confession from Hajime that was enough to give her a knock in her head. As Ive told you earlier Hajime refused to kiss Fukaura on a very straight forward reason, he said that he would never kiss a girl that he did not like. And thats the end of the love triangle. She gave up on chasing Hajime because he already said big No to her. Well, this drama is not focusing on the love life of a pilot so whats the point on giving the love triangle plot too much.
Yes, there was tragic scene that gave me a big shock which for a while I was thinking that this drama would be ended tragically just like, sorry, those K-dramas (No fence for those K-Dramas' lover but its true they like tragic ending). It all started when there was an emergency rehearsal where all the members of the cabin crew including ground staff and mechanics would join the part. This rehearsal was meant to anticipate their performance in conducting emergency exposure. Ogawa felt very nervous during the rehearsal because to her this practice was like the real one and it reminded her of her parents who tragically died in airplane crash. When everybody went straight to the door, they slide from the airplane one by one and that left Ogawa feeling so agitated and scared. Hajime went to her seat and tried to calm her down and persuade her to go out like everybody else. He escorted her near the door to make sure that she slide safely, BUT a very tragic event occurred. Hajime tried to save Ogawa of slipping from the door, however it turned out that Hajimes leg got caught up in a dangling belt near the door as a result he fell down from the airplane to the ground. Everybody was in shock (that included me who was rather horrified watching it, Ive no idea how many feet that he fell from? ouch that mustve hurt a lot). Hajime cried in pain and he could not move at all. Immediately he was taken to the hospital for further treatment.
A really big bad news hit him. The doctor said that he may never be able to walk again because his leg was badly broken thus he could not be a pilot. At that moment all of his dreams shattered, Hajime cried for the first time in his life. Thank God this was not K-drama (Im sorry again for K-dramas' fans), the tragic part did not drag on and on. Hajimes spirit to recover did not fade even Ogawa was with him all the way through. In this moment too, his father realized how much Hajime loved his job and he also did not give up on him. Ogawa told him that she believed that Hajime would fly again and on that time she would be on board with him. After one struggle to another for recuperating, a doctor offered him an operation that only has 10% of success. Since Hajime has no other idea he agreed with him to go for the operation.
Couple of months later, Hajime was cured and he was ready to take the test for the eligibility to still be a pilot. This time the flight was headed to Honolulu. As promised, Ogawa went on board with him. In this final flight on the last episode, Hajime was examined by Captain Kouda and Captain Jane who acted as his examiner. This final flight episode was quite a suspense too because there was another incident again in the airplane which caused panic to the whole passenger. At that time too, Hajimes action was also being observed in handling that emergency situation. The incident occurred when all of a sudden the electricity in the whole passengers cabin went off except in the cockpit. Everybody went panic because they thought that the airplane would crash anytime sooner due to some failure. Hajime asked for Ogawa to look for the trouble since she was the only person who knew all about the mechanical stuff in the airplane. After calming all of the passengers, both Hajime and Ogawa hand in hand were trying to find the source of the problem. They searched ended when Ogawa found out that the source of the trouble was originated in the lavatory. One of the passengers has forgotten to unplug his shaver which has caused short circuit. Hajime immediately announced to the passengers and apologized for that inconvenience. He bowed to them and also suggested them to open the window near their seat. Since the sun has rising, there was no need for us for the light in this airplane, beside at that moment the sun shone so beautifully and it was such a waste not to see it. Everybody looked so happy hearing his announcement and that included Captain Kouda and Captain Jane. At last, the airplane landed safely and this time it was Hajime who did it so smoothly almost into perfection.
Characters Review and Comment
There is no doubt that Kimura Takuya, one of the most popular member in SMAP, is the man for high ratings in the world of Japanese drama. He is the actor that can guarantee any Japanese Television in terms of ratings. My review on his acting will not be bias because of his charismatic look and attractiveness. Personally, Kimura-san is a darn good actor who could play any characters offered to him. On this occasion he acted as a co-pilot who has dreamt since his childhood to be a pilot. His ambition as well as humanity was superbly performed by him. I believe playing this charming but hard headed character of Hajime Shinkai would not be such a problem for him because it was not a complex character at all. One thing that I should noted here that Kimura-san has managed to pull off the comedic moment perfectly with ease. He was so effortless to make people who watch this drama to laugh at his words and action. What more can I say, Kimura-san is a great actor and of course my all time favorite.
Shibasaki Kou as Ogawa Ayumi was well known as her sadistic character in Battle Royale in which has made me so surprised that she could play this role very nicely because she managed to take off all of the horrifying images of her character in Battle Royale. Anyway, Ogawas sullenness, sarcasm and bitter smile were actually what made her oddly attractive character. Strangely, her beauty was hidden deep in her day to day job as a mechanic but that has not stopped Hajime for discovering her true attractiveness, because she was so addictive it made Hajime has to slowly start to throw his pride to chase her and get to know her better. These two odd couples never stop arguing but that what made them so special and funny at times. At first I have my doubt whether these two actors have a good on-screen chemistry but my doubt was wrong, they really looked good together. Both have charmed me with their odd relationship at the start in which at the end they got more hooked and depended to each other. At last, I could finally see the romantic scene at the final episode and of course it was started with argument.
Captain Kouda, played by Tsutsumi Shinichi almost steals the show. He is definitely suitable as the aloof and cold Captain whom everybody is so afraid of. Tsutsumi-san is a veteran actor who has stared many roles in many J-dramas and J-movies. You may remember him as the naïve mathematician in Yamato Nadeshiko alongside Matsushima Nanako. Beside that, he looks good in that pilot uniform well, of course that includes Kimura-san. Anyway, I think that Captain Koudas role is the most difficult one compare to the other roles in this drama. His coldness and strictness were definitely not a product of his own character it was because of he was hiding in his past. He kept blaming himself of causing the plane crash that made Ogawas parents died, not knowing that was actually caused by system failure. At last Kouda could manage to move on with his life and even he apologized to his former girlfriend, Togawa, whom actually he still loved. I just love the scene in the airplane which was in the last episode where Kouda and Togawa finally made amend and promised to go roaming around the world together. That was so sweet and touching. So, my personal highest score for the acting has to be Tsutsumi-san first and then Kimura-san.
Another talented casts here are, Kuroki Hitomi and Takenaka Naoto who both played perfectly well as one of the cabin crew. Kuroki Hitomi as Togawa Noriko is a well-known actress who has ageless beauty (shes over 40 years old now and yet has the skin of 30 years old woman) and also very talented. Ive seen her acting in many roles in J-drama before this one but I believe I like her best in Good Luck! Togawa Noriko has to maintain her gracefulness and agility in every kind situation in the airplane, in which was perfectly performed by Kuroki Hitomi. As for Captain Jane, well Takenaka Naoto is just funny even though he can play in any roles other than comedy but he is still best in pulling off comical act. Anyway, since Captain Janes basic characteristic was an easy going and jovial fellow so it was a piece of cake of Takenaka-san to play it.
Last but not least, Uchiyama Rina and Yoon Son Ha. Both are cute actress in their own way. I must admit that I dont like Fukaura character at the beginning of this drama because she was just a nuisance and tried so hard to get Hajimes attention. Her ultimate goal is to marry a gorgeous pilot until that incident with Captain Kouda, her vision and principle has changed in which such a relief to me as well because I just could not stand this kind of character. Uchiyama Rina is one of an upcoming actress that slowly started to reach popularity in Japan. Her acting has improved greatly since I watched her in S.O.S alongside with Fukada Kyoko and Takizawa Hideaki. If she can managed to make me annoyed in this drama that means she has succeed to play the role as Fukaura. As for Yoon Son Ha, she is a Korean actress who is based in Japan. Not too much comment about her because I dont know her too much but she did make a good notable performance as Hajimes crazy next door neighbour.
So, overall, this drama is awesome. It is something that you may not get disappointed in watching it. The plot is not too heavy but each of the characters and episodes were interesting to watch. For those who likes to collect J-drama, It is very worth it to buy it and add it into your collection since you will not be tired in re-watching it (well Ive seen it more than twice now). The catchy theme song by Tatsuro Yamashita is so suitable for this drama. This is one of the best drama in the year 2003, and in Japan has managed to get 30.6% ratings. My personal judgment for this drama is of course five star, and for those of you who have not watched it, I wish you GOOD LUCK!!