Ashita, Mama ga Inai: Eps 3-4 & Why I stopped Watching (Updated)
As you all know, I absolutely loved the first couple episodes of Ashita, Mama ga Inai. Even though some parts of the story are not that realistic, the acting & the atmosphere of the drama really made up for it. But now I’m not so sure how I feel about Ashita after watching eps 3-4. These episodes were not bad, it’s just that they weren’t excellent either. They just felt ‘meh’ in comparison to the solid opening episodes of Ashita.
So episode 3 delves more into the story of one of the side characters, Otsubone. She’s the oldest girl in the Kodomo no Ie and is always shown wearing an eye patch and carrying a stuffed animal rabbit. Otsubone is played by Suzuka Ohgo, whom I actually didn’t recognize but…..GUESS WHAT? She was the actress who played the role of the child-version Chiyo in the film Memoirs of a Geisha! OMGAWD I DIDN’T RECOGNIZE HER AT ALL NOW THAT SHE’S ALL GROWN UP!!!!!!!! She’s been in many other movies since then but I’ve only seen her in another jdrama, Second Movement (Dai Ni Gakusho), where she also played the younger-version of one of the main characters. Anyways, her acting is just alright so far….and I think she was probably better in Second Movement than she is here. I like Otsubone’s character but I can’t help but feel like her story was used just to show how perceptive and amazing Post is. Her story didn’t highlight her character as much as it could’ve because Post just stole the spotlight. T_T” i.e. ep3 shows all about how Post saves this paralyzed girl and teaches her to walk, when Otsubone gives Post a ‘farewell call’, of course Post realizes that something is about to go wrong, etc. etc. We get it, Post is like the big sis! But she does not have to go around saving people in every single episode! Of course I still love Post, it’s just that I wish she wasn’t made out to be the ‘savior’ all the time.
Anyways I’m also very curious about the other oldest person in Kodome no Ie–Rokka (Miura Shohei). He’s the oldest guy and is probably one of the most considerate ones even though he doesn’t go out of his way to show it. I kinda like him paired with Otsubone but then it shows the child case worker (Kanai) KISSING HIM!?!?! AND..TAKING A BATH WITH HIM? WHAAAAAT? I did not see that coming at all! I just feel kinda uncomfortable when Kanai starts hitting on Rokka because…um I’m pretty sure that’s not allowed… O_____O
Episode 4 is a bit better than ep3, not counting its more cheesy ending. The four main characters finally get into a fight after Piami realizes that her crush Ren likes Post, and after Post says some harsh things to Bombi (the one with the glasses). Post does her usual forget-your-parents speech to Bombi to try to get her to go to her first foster parent trial. Bombi ends up relapsing during the trial which only makes Post feel guilty & fuels Piami’s anger towards Post even more. Hmm I’m glad that the foursome finally had a conflict since it was also interesting to see how Post reacted once her authority as the leader was compromised. I think Piami is the only one who could really challenge Post’s authority (which she did). *gasp* Donki/Maki is kinda caught up in the middle of this and doesn’t seem to choose any sides between Piami & Post. Instead she plays the role of the mediator who goes back and forth between Piami and Post, lol. I actually feel like Donki is one of the most logical ones out of the girls’ group…I mean, of course Post is most rational and Piami is mature, but Donki can see things from other people’s perspectives better.
Long story short, of course the girls make up & reunite! Bombi’s ending is kinda cheesy but whatever. The good part about this is that Bombi probably will not be screaming JORIPI in every single one of her scenes now that she knows JORIPI is just an illusion. I thought the ending scene with the four girls at the beach was really cute & of course I love allll the shots of the sunset, (they use sunset scenes quite often) hehe!
I’m still quite surprised that Donki/Maki is not playing as large of a role in these episodes. In fact even Post does not have AS much screentime as I expected. I’m glad that the drama is trying to develop the side characters as well, but I also feel like it is doing so at the expense of the main characters’ development. The drama is focusing so much on the kid’s past that it is hard to see where the kids are going in the present. As I said in my intro, I just felt kinda ‘meh’ and ambivalent in eps 3-4, I guess because I do not have much emotional attachment to Bombi or Otsubone. I am starting to empathize with Otsubone some more, but overall the emotional impact of these episodes was lacking in comparison to eps 1-2.
Update: Why I Stopped Watching
I started out watching this drama with a lot of high hopes and enthusiasm due to the great cast and the subject matter. It was a bit different from the other usual jdramas out there which made it an enjoyable watch at first. I was also fairly emotionally invested in Post’s character in particular, and could even overlook the drama’s lack of realism and its flaws. But by the time I got to eps 5-6, I simply lost interest in the drama. It started out promising but ended up taking the safe route with episodic stories about each character and cliched endings with Post always saving the day. I think I said before that I wasn’t expecting much realism from the story, since after all it has a Charles Dickens kind of feel to it..but by ep6 I felt like it was too much of this storybook feel. There wasn’t enough tangible emotions in the story and also not enough character development. All in all I think Ashita Mama ga Inai was a good try, but it definitely could’ve been much better.