Haken no Hinkaku: Eps 1-10 (Overall)
By now you all probably know that I post tons of initial reviews of jdramas that I’m starting to rewatch for a second time. And then I never actually finish posting about it because somehow I end up not fully rewatching the drama. Well, guess what, I ACTUALLY REWATCHED HAKEN NO HINKAKU IN ALL ITS ENTIRETY. I marathoned it through and for some reason, this time around Haken no Hinkaku seems even better!
I don’t know if it’s my love of Shinohara Ryoko, or my personal understanding of the things the characters are going through, or if I’m just going through a tough time and needed something to cheer me up, but I must say that Haken no Hinkaku made me rethink things a lot.
First off, if you’re wondering what a “haken” is, it’s a term meaning a temporary contracted worker. In other words, a haken will work for a company for a certain amount of contracted time, and then move on to another job. Part of the focus of Haken no Hinkaku is the unstability of a haken’s life because they cannot stay in one job for a long time. It also portrays the way full-time employees treat temporary employees as sub-par and not as skilled.
^bottom left pic: In case you didn’t know, the guy she’s dancing with is Shirota Yuu.
“It’s OOMAE HARUKO!”
So, on the surface, Haken no Hinkaku tells about the feats of a super-haken, Oomae Haruko, who can do pretty much do any job because she is trained & certified in EVERYTHING. As in, she can operate cranes, go sky-diving, train dogs, fish for tuna, speak Russian, write speeches, cook, detect earthquakes, play kendo, AND MORE. YEAH. SHE’S A LEGEND. Obviously this part of the drama is unrealistic and..actually..kinda expected of a jdrama.
BUT IT GETS BETTER. I only realized this when I rewatched it–Oomae Haruko is actually a very human character that’s not larger than life. At first her coworkers think she’s a rude and cold person that has no desire to connect with others. In actuality, Haruko is a very caring person but she also isolates herself from others to avoid getting hurt. She’s the sort of person that gets misunderstood by others because she puts up a wall around herself so as not to let anyone know her vulnerability. Maybe it’s just me reading into things too much, but Haruko is that kind of character that gets me right in the heart. You can see her dilemma when she considers whether to stay with the only people who have ever accepted her, or to distance herself to avoid getting hurt.
Haruko enters her new contract at the company S&F (which, hilariously, stands for Spoon & Fork) along with a newbie haken, Mori Miyuki. Mori is the exact opposite of Haruko–she’s clumsy, inexperienced, and above all, idealistic and friendly. This time around, I got a bit annoyed with Mori because she’s that sort of “beauty that is pretty and nice but is clumsy and always apologizing.” However I realized that hey, I would probably do the same thing if I were Mori. I also found that I really enjoyed Mori’s presence alongside Haruko because they compliment each other nicely.
Anyways, I enjoyed Mori’s character arc towards self-acceptance and self-actualization. At first she’s unhappy with herself because she feels inadequate as a haken and doesn’t know where she’s going in life. She’s caught in a state of complaining & sighing about how sucky her life is, but then with Haruko’s help she gets her game together and tries to find her own path. Also thankfully she doesn’t always remain dependent on Haruko..if anything, Haruko was one of the ‘stepping stones’ (not in a bad way) along the way to finding her independence and self-worth.
I probably bogged you down with all my serious talk about Haruko & Mori, but FEAR NOT, THERE IS HUMOR TOO. There are tons of laugh-out-loud moments for me, mainly when Haruko butts heads with a full-time employee, Shouji. There are lots of running jokes, such as ones that make fun of Shouji’s perm. That’s where they get the name “curly curly perm”. AHAHA. And, in case any of you watched Ogon no Buta, you might’ve missed the clear reference to the Shouji x Haruko OTP!
Interestingly enough, even though Haruko tries hard not to get involved with her coworkers, she’s the kind of person that ends up changing everyone she comes across. Haruko will always be that sort of legendary character, in that she’s like a wise old sage that bluntly hands out advice to everyone, a heroine that swoops in to save the day, and someone that drops into your life and then disappears.
All in all I loved rewatching Haken no Hinkaku. Even if you may not relate to Haruko’s character, I think she’s undeniably an awesome anti-heroine. Also, not to spoil you, but the ending is left a bit open-ended but at the same time wraps everything up quite nicely. I was quite satisfied by the ending even the second time around!