Ashita, Mama ga Inai: Ep 2
So far Ashita Mama ga Inai is the only jdrama that I’m actually really into this winter season! I totally loved episode 1 and episode 2 was no exception! Don’t let all the bad press prevent you from watching it! 😉
First I want to address a few concerns that popped up over Ashita. Apparently there has been a lot of hullabaloo in Japan over the ‘unrealistic’ content of the drama, how the portrayal of the orphanage children is ‘infringing human rights’, etc. etc. You can read more about it in detail on the Jdrama Weblog. O_O I really did not understand the extent of this controversy until I read that more in-depth post about it. I can’t believe how much this debacle has blown up out of proportions. Do they seriously expect DRAMAS to be super realistic? And even if they wanted to cut out some of the ‘damaging’ aspects of the drama, doesn’t that just mean they want a super rosy idealistic portrayal of the orphans’ circumstances instead? What the heck? Also I don’t see why they are singling out this one jdrama when there are multitudes of other unrealistic jdramas out there. Anyways if you’re also puzzled by this whole ordeal you can read Akiramike’s post for a good laugh, heh.
Anyways aside the controversy, there are still some gripes about how a lot of the potential-adopted-moms are portrayed as crazy, how the children are way too mature for their age, etc. etc. I had an issue with this in episode one but not anymore. The thing is that I now approach Ashita as more like a children’s story. In NeeNee’s words, it has a kind of Charles Dickens feel to it. It also reminds me of The Little Princess (and the jdrama adaptation, Shokojo Seira). It is not meant to be taken as a 100% truthful portrayal. I think some parts are shown from the children’s perspective (i.e. crazy adults) which is why they are overexaggerated. Also, as for the kids being way too mature for their age…I view them as characters that are actually older, but they’re just all in CHIBI FORM! LOL. It actually makes it more amusing to watch once you get over their age/maturity differences because a lot of the scenes are like something I would expect from a high school drama and not from a kid drama. So everything is just in cuter smaller form. 😛 Also I just wanted to point out that IF the drama had been about teen orphans rather than children orphans…..(which of course would mean there would be an older cast) I think the acting quality would not have been as good. O_O We probably would’ve gotten an idol cast whereas here with the children cast we have some very strong actresses! *COUGH* ASHIDA MANA! *COUGH*
A big portion of the episode is dedicated to Post’s relationship with another orphan child named Pachi. She takes on the role of an older sister/mom to him and protects him no matter what. Pachi is just adorable in this episode and I totally loved ALL of his cute scenes with Post, HEHEH. Maybe the writing could’ve been a bit more subtle..i.e. there are parts where one of the characters says it straight out “YOU’RE [POST] LIKE HIS MOM!”. Yeah, I’m pretty sure we understood that without having to hear it in the script. T_T Anyways I actually like Post’s reactions the most whenever she’s with the boy Ren who’s crushing on her, LOL. The two of them are like total opposites–Post being all tough and Ren being prim and proper. HEHEH. Anyways I think it’s funny when they’re together because Post is totally oblivious to Ren’s feelings for her! And I just realized..are they trying to do a whole….love crosses socioeconomic boundaries side-story too? O_O Since Ren is rich whereas Post is poor? OH OH and I think there are also hints that the boy’s mom might actually be the mother of Pachi!?!?!? I don’t know if it was just me reading into things too much, but Post mistakes the boy’s younger brother as Pachi….maybe it’s just a coincidence…..
Another sidestory focuses more on another one of the four main characters–Piami. (middle left pic, she’s the one on the right) I didn’t mention her in my ep1 review but she is basically the ‘ojou-san’ of the group and is perhaps the most mature one of them all. Only a little bit is revealed about her background–it seems like she grew up in a rich household but due to unknown causes, she ended up in the children’s home. So I’m not sure if she was orphaned or if she was abandoned? I like Piami so far and although her role doesn’t require as much depth as Post’s, she’s holding up pretty well! The other main character I didn’t mention is Bombi, (bottom right pic, the one one on the right) whose only purpose in the drama so far is to stare at a picture and scream “JORIPI”. T______T”” I think her character is for comic relief..but it’s more annoying than funny. It got annoying in episode one alone, so just imagine how it was when it continued on into episode 2. I really hope she stops screaming JORIPI in every single one of her scenes.
As for the group dynamics, so far we haven’t had enough group interaction to see how the four main characters’ chemistry is together. I think Piami and Post are the most ‘in sync’ with each other because it seems like they understand each other very well. They also seem to take on the leader role in the group whereas Bombi & Donki/Maki are the followers. I also realized that the four girls make up the usual girls’ group–the refined girl, the tomboy, the nerd (OK sorry to Bombi for labelling the nerd for her glasses but..I couldn’t help it..), and the girl-next-door! I wonder what it would be like if they showed a flash-forward to say, middle school or high school to see how they would become later on? I know it wouldn’t happen but I think it’d be fun, HAHA. I’m pretty sure Post would lead the group to dominate their middle school! 😛
Surprisingly Suzuki Rio did not have as much screentime in this episode. I think even Piami, whom I assumed was not going to be a major character, had more screentime than Maki did! Anyways Maki accepts her new nickname “Donki” and begins to try to move forward with her life. Of course this is easier said than done, as she still breaks down crying at random moments whenever she realizes that she is without her mother and living all on her own. There is this one dramatic scene when Donki looks at a reflection of her and her potential adopted-parents and then seems to realize that she is so happy with these strangers but also so empty without her real mom. She lets go of her balloon in the moment and then starts sobbing uncontrollably right then and there. :'( I know this scene was totally designed to get at our heartstrings and it DEFINITELY WORKED.
It’s too bad I can’t understand this drama very well raw, otherwise I totally would’ve marathoned it up through the latest episode!!! >___< Anyways I think at this rate, the drama will be more episodic as it focuses on different characters in the orphanage in each episode. We already learned parts of Pachi, Piami, Post and Donki’s characters…but I’m sure there is more to be revealed about them later on. So I’m not too sure how the drama will split up the time between the 4 main characters & the rest of the side characters. O_O I hope that the main characters will get enough screentime & character development!