Esumi Makiko Narumi/Harumi
Goro Inagaki Mori Shinichi
Naito Takashi Tatsuya
Takashima Reiko - Tamaki
Henmi Emiri - Kanako
Furuka Rika Maiko
TV Station: NTV
Telecast: 15 -10-1997 to 17- 12- 1997
Theme song: Montage Noriyuki Makihara
Love is a One Way Ticket is another lovable and funny J-drama. Its witty and the cast is so wonderful, which is why Ive decided to review it. What is a one way ticket to love anyway?
Narumi (Esumi Makiko) returned to Japan after living in Rio de Janeiro for 11.5 years. She found out that she had gotten off at the wrong airport as soon as she arrived in Japan. Narumi hitchhiked to Tokyo. On her way to Tatsuyas (Naito Takashi) house, she met Harumi (Esumi), her twin sister, who actually was about to elope with her fiancé to Hokkaido. However, Harumi did not tell Narumi about her plan. Narumi went into the house and quickly ran upstairs to Harumis room. There, she noticed a letter on the table from Harumi. As Narumi opened and read it, she was shocked because it was Harumis letter saying goodbye to everyone because she had left to get married. Later on, a knock on the door made Narumi panic. It was Tatsuya looking for Harumi. As quickly as possible, Narumi hid her trunk with a bed cover and also hid herself under the duvet when he came in. Tatsuya did not realise it. He thought it was Harumi, who actually was Narumi. Tatsuya left the room after a while. Narumi escaped through the window by tying the bed sheets to enable her to climb down. Kanako (Henmi Emiri) caught Narumi climbing down from the window. She thought it was Harumi, but Narumi hurriedly explained matters and Kanako was shocked. Before Kanako could ask any further questions, Narumi flagged down a taxi and left for the airport.
On the way to the airport, Narumi met Mori Shinichi (Goro Inagaki) who was riding a bicycle and trying to catch up with the taxi. He had mistakenly identified her as Harumi, on whom he had a crush. Since Mori could not catch up with the taxi, he joined Narumi to pursue Harumi. In the airport they met Harumi, who explained everything to him about her plan to get married. Mori actually had a steady girlfriend, but was still in love with Harumi; his heart was broken when he realised she was leaving him for Hokkaido. Tatsuya was so mad at Harumis decision, but he could do nothing but accept the fact.
Meanwhile, things did not turn out the way Narumi expected. She realized that her fiancé had taken all of her money and left her. With her heart broken, Narumi hesitantly decided to stay in Japan for a while and stayed at Tatsuyas.
While staying in Japan, Mori and Narumi become close, which made Moris girlfriend Maiko (Furukawa Rika) terribly jealous. Narumi also met her old friend Tamaki (Takashima Reiko), who later on did not realize that she had become somewhat attracted to Tatsuya. In the meantime Mori became very confused because he had gradually fallen in love with Narumi, and had a hard time deciding whether he should stay with Maiko or be with Narumi. This is where the love triangle comes into play. Although there was not much to talk about, it kept me guessing whether Mori would be with Narumi. Moris character was geeky, and I doubted he could leave his girlfriend.
Trying to find employment was not difficult for Narumi; in fact, she managed to jump from one job to another. Mori was trying to sabotage her job all the time because he was jealous of Narumi's suitors (who turned out to be her employers) in each of her jobs. At the end, Narumi was offered a job in Rio again and decided to leave Tokyo. Mori, who was still unable to confess his feelings, felt that it was too late for him to do that. He was so devastated and later on changed his job. Narumi learnt about this problem and strived to help Mori to get back on his feet again. When he finally had the courage to confess his feelings, Narumi rejected him by saying that she wanted to pursue her career abroad. Actually, she did not want to come between Mori and Maiko, and her real feelings towards Mori were mixed as well.
Months later, Kanako planned to get married and she seized the chance to invite Mori to her wedding. This created many opportunities for Mori to meet Narumi. At last, Kanakos plan worked because Narumi agreed to go on a date with Mori. On their first date, Narumi and Mori were trapped at the rooftop of a building and since it was raining at that time, that made everything worse. Narumi was sleepy and cold, and Mori took the opportunity take her into his arms and ask if she loved him at all. She said yes. However, Mori left for his hometown the next day while Narumi went back to Rio.
When Narumi arrived in Rio, her friends there told her that a Japanese guy had just moved to the same block of apartments where Narumi lived. They told her that this guy liked to rear hamsters. Narumi knew that Moris favorite pet that he used to have back in Japan was a hamster. A few minutes later, after her friends had left, she heard someone knock on her door. When Narumi opened the door, she smiled at him, a friendly face carrying a grocery bag full of French bread.
Story, Cast and Characters Review
First of all, there are only three characters in this story that I review and the rest is history. Why only three? Because they were the core of the story and the most interesting characters to be reviewed. Secondly, I will also review the storyline. I shall begin with the story first.
Well, this story is very predictable from the beginning to the end. However, the good side of this story is the cast and its witty dialogue, which kept me watching all the way. The story became quite interesting when Narumi started switching jobs. The funny part was where Mori kept trying to sabotage her jobs. He got so jealous of each of her suitors, who were Narumis various employers. Another funny part was when Mori first met Narumi while he was on his way to his office. It was funny to see him pedalling furiously to catch up with the taxi so that he could talk to Narumi.
The downside about this story is Tatsuyas character. He really liked to shout a lot. When he panicked upon realizing Harumi was fleeing with her fiancé, he shouted. At the moment Narumi decided to stay at his house, Tatsuya raised his voice again. Must he shout all the time? I kept wondering throughout the drama whether Naito had a sore throat after that shouting. It is good to see Naito playing in a comedy because most of the time I saw him acting as the bad guy. This time his character is somewhat homey. He made pottery and handicraft for a living. It was difficult for Naito to shake off the stereotype of being the bad guy, which is why I was not so surprised to see him shouting at everyone most of the time. As I said before, that was the downside of Tatsuyas character as well as the story.
It is very surprising that Goro Inagaki (actor/singer and one of the SMAP members, the most popular boy band in Japan) looks so good as this comical character. Ive never realised that his acting was quite good. Usually, most of his dramas were bad and not as popular as any drama starring his SMAP colleagues, i.e Takuya Kimura, Masahiro Nakai, Tsuyoshi Kusanagi and Shingo Katori. Another plus point for Goro is that he can look so nerdy with his thick plastic-frame glasses. Well, I should not underestimate Goro-chan. Although he rarely makes any spectacular dramas like his colleagues, he is no less talented than them. Moris character is quite lovable. He is very gentle and helpful too. When Mori and Narumi were trapped on a roof top, he gave her his jacket to keep her warm...awww thats so sweet. I also think Goro looks great with those Clark Kent-ish glasses.
Esumi Makiko played dual roles here as twins. To my relief, the role of her as Harumi only lasted one episode. She was just not suitable playing a quiet and naïve girl like Harumi. In addition, Esumi had to wear a very awful wig. As usual, I always found her acting brilliant. Originally I doubted her acting ability to play Narumi because of her character in Love Revolution as Kyoko Asaoka, who was so conservative and totally the opposite of Narumi. I misjudged her on that. She is good as Narumi. I also thought nobody would be suitable to play Esumis love interest in J-dramas except Naohito Fujiki (again...I was influenced by Love Revolutions characters), Oh well, I was wrong again. Esumi and Goro looked good as well, but not as good as Esumi with Fujiki. But overall, I was not disappointed with Esumi and Goro being together.
Overall, the story was not too bad after all. If you like something that does not make you think too much or nurse a grudge against any of the characters, go and see this one. You will not see any evil people here. There was no major revenge plot or great villain here. For Esumi Makikos fans, just watch her in this drama. But for those who seek something intriguing and complex, forget about it.
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