Zenkai Girl


Reviewed by: sukting

October 28, 2012

Rating: three

Foreword
A heart-warming comedy about work, relationships and love. She gets to know many single fathers when with her boss’s daughter, Hinata. Will a lawyer marry a chef instead of a colleague in the end?

Story/Introduction on characters

1. Yui Aragaki - Wakaba Aikawa
Devoted to becoming an international lawyer to get away from poverty, Ayukawa Wakaba is full of ambition. Her father is foolish to be the guarantor for friends to be always in depth. She then decides to study law so as to have her own rights.

She rents a small room in Tokyo. She rushes for an interview in her kimono after knowing that her company is going bust. She becomes a lawyer at an international law firm, but to her disappointment, she is to babysit the boss' 5 year old daughter, Hinata.

She spends a lot of time sewing her clothes to save money while she is poor in cooking as she often eats soya sauce rice. She has to learn from Sota on how to make a lunch box for Hinata. It is from this gesture that Hinata grows to like her as she appreciates her efforts. She finds it tired to juggle work and babysitting. Still, she manages to complete her tasks on time.

Wakaba dislikes kids and nursing, but unwillingly accepts it as she is determined to get wealth and success. Things become worse when she must take turns once a week, as other fathers do on different days of a week. The other fathers get worried and more so to know that she squeezes all of them in her small room.

She can be overbearing to use law to trap others. That is why the single fathers dislike her, calling her a devil and discourages Sota to go out with her. They find her a snob. Only Sota knows her merits and loneliness to stand up for her.

Despite being exhausted from all the first-time experiences in child care, Wakaba begins to realize what is truly important to her. She has tried to stop her father from seeing her future in-laws as he might get into trouble. True enough, he runs into another debt after being conned by his friend and Shindo’s mother has to settle the debt for him. Unlike her, her father is actually an expert in babysitting and all the kids like her.

Through this, she discovers how much her father loves her from her health booklet. He deposits her mass – 2060g into 2060 yen into her savings account yearly. His loanshark gets everything from the two but leaves this aside as he also has children and knows her father treasures it.

She keeps telling herself that she wants to aim for the top but realises that her mind keeps thinking of Sota. She proposes to him but gets rejected as he wants to be the one. She resigns from shoko’s firm to join a small firm to start from scratch. She waits one year for Sota to return and both have a nice meal at Le Sato. This actress resembles Wan Bik Har in looks and she is quite natural in acting.

2. Ryo Nishikido - Sota Yamada
Wakaba goes to a preschool to pick up Hinata, she meets a single father named Yamada Sota. Sota is a man without higher education, wealth, or a future goal. He once works in a pretigious Western restaurant but quits to look after his son. Now, he works in a small restaurant. Sota’s wife runs away with her lover and leaves him a son, not fathered by him.

The real reason is he can’t excel in skills and he escapes from reality. He is someone that Wakaba absolutely cannot stand as he is the complete opposite of her ideals. She calls him dung beetle. She ends up looking after Hinata and a few other kids along with Sota. He decides to leave for France on the same day of Wakaba’s wedding and is astonished to see her at the restaurant venue where he is standing in. He can’t promise her a nice future but he can protect her.

So he still leaves for France to study. When he is back, he renovates the old restaurant and comes up with his own menus. He tries out the appetizer with Wakaba. Knowing that she sticks to principles, he coaxes her to try. I find this actor too skinny and short. Can you imagine that both have to share a kiss as he carries her as she seems to be slightly taller than him in heels?!

3. Hiroyuki Hirayama - Kyoichi Shindo
He is a successful lawyer who comes from a rich family of lawyers. Educated in the US, he has high demands in taste and women. Thus, Wakaba eyes him as a prospective match. She plays hard to get to arouse his interest in her when he can’t date her for the first time. When they do, they end up eating at he restaurant Sota works in the past.

Sota stands in as his ex-colleague is sick and prepares the appetizer. Shindo is smart to know his ability from there through the arrangement. And indeed, he cooks well. Seeing that Wakaba needs to rush back to work, Sota packs the food for her so that she can still eat in the office. Shindo observes and feels threatened. None of Shindo’s ex-girlfriends cut the mark as his mother is not satisfied with them. Strangely, she can accept Wakaba into the family.

He is the only person besides Shoko to have his own office. He woos Wakaba and he doesn’t know that Wakaba actually borrows a dress from Soyoko to meet his mother to watch a play together. He never gets to know where she stays as she keeps it from him even though they date. After knowing the truth, he wishes Sota to back out as he is the only one who can provide a good future for her.

They are about to have a lavish wedding after he buys her a huge wedding ring. He wants to announce their engagement to the other colleagues through a meal but she doesn’t appear. Why? She is consoling Sota who feels guilty for making his son stay with him instead of his mother. Shindo is ambitious and wants to be the head of the law firm, replacing Shoko. Shoko predicts this to happen to merge with another firm, causing his plan to fail. He is about to resign when Wakaba consoles him to be tolerant of setbacks.

Thus, he remains to be the New York representative. He knows that she will not forsake him as he has helped her in the past. Thus, he decides to let her to be with Sota to do the best for her. He leaves Japan right on the wedding day to explain to all the guests.

4. Yakushimaru Hiroko as Sakuragawa Shoko
She is the head of the law firm. She concentrates on her job after her divorce as her ex-husband cheats on her. She wins the custody and he can only visit Hinata monthly. She has very little time with Hinata and only pays for nannies but Hinata chases all of them away. She wants to hold on to her position and trusts no one. She also tells Wakaba to be like her but soon, she learns that Hinata matters to her most. She leaves the negotiation of an important deal to Shindo so that she can watch her school play.

Hinata lies to her about acting as Snow White but she is actually the witch. She has not wanted Shoko to know it but Wakaba wants her to be truthful to herself too. Although Hinata cuts the dress that she has sewn for her, she has sewn it back for her. Even though Wakaba warns her, she is calm about Shindo’s move. She actually has a backup plan to merge with another firm so she keeps her position. Although Wakaba resigns right after her probation, she claims that she can be replaced quickly since Hinata’s nanny will be back soon.

5. Renbutsu Misako as Shioda Soyoko
She is the lawyers’ assistant and she likes Sota who is hardworking and caring. Status doesn’t matter to her. She shows her affections openly and helps out in Restaurant Le Sato after work. Sota tries to force himself to accept her, not wanting to hinder Wakaba’s future. However, she finally learns that love can’t be compelled and encourages them to be together again.

6. Aoyama Noriko as Kujo Mika
She is another top demure lawyer in the firm. However, she behaves differently to be frank and loud when she is drunk. Samao likes her when she steps on his foot and finds excuses to visit her at the law firm. She helps in retaining Nishino’s toy company so that it will not close down. She later marries him and have a daughter. She is now pregnant with their second child.

7. Sato Jiro as Sakota Morice
He is another picky lawyer at the law firm. He is hard to please and often complains about Wakaba. He also looks down on the poor.

8. Takeuchi Riki as Hanamura Jin
He is the principal of the nursery. His first love is Shoko and is concerned about her well-being. He always thinks of different activities to involve the kids – from lunch box meals and playing games.

9. Kaito Aiko as Hanamura Urara
She is Jin’s daughter and knows about his past with Shoko. She is a teacher at the nursery. Samao is interested in her but she is interested in Kentaro. Later, she decides that Chabo is better because he is comfortable to lean on. That leads to the protests from the other guys.

10. Arakawa Yoshiyoshi as Hayashi Samao
He is a comedian actor who has a little son. He braces himself to tell Urara about his feelings to ruin her matchmaking session. He is totally dejected to know that she has someone else in mind.

11. Suzuki Ryohei as Kentaro Nishino
He is a toy maker in a factory. He is very serious at work and children love his toys. Sota even sells his toys at the street so as to earn more money to get Yamada into a private primary school to be with Hinata in future. The three father are Sota’s buddies so they think he deserves someone better.

12. Tani Kanon as Sakuragawa Hinata
She is Shoko’s daughter. She seems haughty at first with her long permed hair but actually she is very easy-going. She has wanted to force Wakaba to leave but later admires her working ability. Seeing that she is materialistic but likes Sota, she reminds her at times and tries to create chances of them to get together. Despite Wakaba’s shortcomings, Hinata becomes her close friend.

She likes going to Le Sato to be with the common folks instead of expensive restaurants. She even sleeps over there on certain days. That is why she doesn’t mind sleeping over at Wakaba’s small room although she stays in a big house. She enjoys Yamada’s company most and they are often together. She is very lonely and tries to get Shoko’s attention although she understands her busy working schedule.

13. Takagi Serai as Yamada Emitaro
Like Hinata, he is also a sensible boy. He doesn’t like Wakaba calling Sota as a dung beetle and tries to find its use. His mother, Ririka sleeps with a dancer and he is then born. She then leaves him in Sota’s care so that she can crave a career in the U.S. He also hopes that Sota will get someone he likes.

Ririka has wanted Yamada to come to her to the U.S. but he chooses to be with Sota. When the two adults force him to make a second choice again, he chooses to run away from home with Hinata before he gets on the plane to the U.S. when Sota lies that he is a burden to him and he can’t date other women.

The poor girl also finds it hard to deal with her parents’ divorce. Thus, the two kids take the bus to where their parents have been in the past to create their own memories. The adults then find out that they are too selfish and have not asked them what they need. He still chooses to be with Ririka to give Sota the freedom he needs.

14. Aoki Keito as Chabo Junior
He works as an insurance agent and is slightly plump. His child is the youngest – a baby girl who is a few months old. That is why he worries when it is Wakaba’s turn to look after the children since she doesn’t seem to be able to take care of them well.

15. Suga Tomio as Le Sato shopkeeper
He is the owner of the restaurant and he is the one who teaches Sota how to cook. Sota has been an orphan since young and is brought up by his grandmother. This old man dotes on him. That is why Sota helps him out when he has piles.

Most favourite character
Shindo, he doesn’t hide his thoughts and ambition. He doesn’t even mind Wakaba telling Shoko about it. He never backstabs anyone. To him, what matters is she loves him and can help him in his career. He doesn’t mind her past and admires her abilities despite her poor background.

Most hated character
Sota, he is too wishy-washy. Anyone can see that he is smitten with Wakaba but he keeps denying. He is afraid that he isn’t good enough for her and wallows in self-pity when she keeps stressing that she wants to be successful. Sigh – he should work harder instead of only listening to her.

Conclusion

There is one case for each episode. I do like some stories. One is on getting the children to play a mud game festival. The parents are wary of hand foot mouth disease to want to cancel it but the children simply love it. In the end, Sota and Wakaba have to get approvals from parents to go personally from door to door. They have a lot of fun in the end. That shows the innocent side of children.

Another will be playing the confession game. The little kids play and confess to each other. Wakaba gets disturbed when she is forced to make a confession. She doesn’t know what to do with the baseball bat. In the end, Jin asks her to close her eyes and think of someone she truly loves. Sota’s face appears instead of Shindo’s. What happens next – she falls asleep as she has not slept for 2 days over a case so al l of them have no answer! Sota has to carry her into the resting room in the end. That is sure an anti-climax.

The cases are basic and not complicated. Somehow, I feel that they are solved too easily as most are settled out of court. I only see them having meetings in the office. To save budget perhaps? Another thing I can’t accept is that Wakaba only has a set of track suit as her pyjamas. Doesn’t she have money to buy a new set? Her long pants become knee-length after she fixes Hinata’s costume. This is unbelievable – she can have sets of working clothes but not this?

The two children are cute and a delight to watch. The girl looks stunning in whatever she wears – just like Strawberry shortcake. I find the leads a total mismatch in appearance. Ryo isn’t tall enough. It makes matters worse when he is lanky and too boyish looking to look like a father. No wonder Wakaba doesn’t feel secure when with him. Still, it is commendable to talk on social issues are often neglected in life. It gives us the food for thought.


Sukting’s ratings :

On acting : *** (Scale of 5)

On story : *** (Scale of 5)


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