piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
[personal profile] piranha
watched this because oguri shun is in it -- once i get attached to a voice, i really get attached. :) also, the subject matter seemed potentially like fun, and i always like watching animals.

at first glance tottori ken'ichi (oguri shun) is a cold, rude, foul-mouthed veterinarian who appears to only be interested in money. his catch phrase is 'pet care is business', and he refuses to treat any animal unless the owner can pay his -- often steep -- bills. he's also extraordinarily skillful, otherwise he might not have any clients. as it is, he is often the go-to man of last resort. he runs his animal clinic by himself until he encounters tajima asuka (inoue mao), who comes to him for help with her lame race horse. because she can't pay, he hires her as his gopher/assistant so she can work off her debt. one of the few people with whom he is friendly is fellow vet hanabishi masaru (narimiya hiroki), a friend from university; the charismatic host of a popular TV animal show. hanabishi excels at diagnosis, but he has a secret -- ever since botching an operation on his own dog, which resulted in the dog bleeding out, he has been unable to operate. he hides this from everyone, and often comes to tottori for help with operations.

i can't say this is a good drama, but i watched all 9 episodes of it, and enjoyed myself.

i enjoyed it mostly because contrary to many other reviewers i like tottori. yes, he behaves like an asshole, i won't debate that. but i share his attitude -- he thinks most pet owners are self-centred idiots who don't think and care enough for their pets' wellbeing. honestly, i would like to talk to such people as he does; (un)fortunately i have better manners. so, yeah, he is my champion. besides, there is much more to him than rudeness and exceptional skill; he really cares for animals despite pretending that they're just a means to making money. he doesn't actually hate people (they just aggravate him), and really comes through for his friends and anyone he grudgingly takes under his wing. oguri does a great job with him; from the first episode there were glimpses of the real person through the crusty exterior. he has good rapport with the many animals on the show, and he sutures better than most TV doctors. also, he looks damn fine all in black and with glasses [1]. ;) the more i see of oguri, the more i like him.

i'm less impressed with tajima asuka. when we meet her she's full of naive animal "love" (oh, so CUTE!) without actually considering the consequences of her actions. i wonder what would have happened to her if tottori hadn't "adopted" her -- he treats her horse, he gives her a place to stay and a job; ostensibly so she can work off her debt. and yet she whinges about how cold a person he is and how hard he makes her work -- she's got all the perception of a grapefruit. he is rude to her, but he immediately figures out that she needs help, and provides it. also, she meddles without having any knowledge of the facts -- she is a clueless busybody, and i hate such characters. i didn't like her at all to start with, and was loath of there being a romance, or worse even, a love triangle in the works; because she's all googly-eyed over good-looking hanabishi. i was fortunate; while that's hinted at to start with, nothing comes of it. oh - and whoever thought of pulling inoue's hair back into a pony tail -- don't do that again. she has a strange forehead; it looked like a bald spot, and was weirdly distracting. after the halfway point she starts to get her act together, becomes more reliable, works on improving her own skills, and gets a clue about tottori. i think she has a crush on hanabishi to start with, but that transfers to tottori after she sees how often he actually helps others. i'm not sure i like inoue as an actor, but maybe i'd have to see her in something where i actually like her character.

hanabishi is also a nicely complex character for such a short show, who has his own demons to fight and grows through doing so. i really like the relationship between him and tottori (if i were in the mood for shipping characters, those would be the two i'd ship). they know each other well, accept each other's foibles, and are there for each other in a pinch. he gave tottori the nickname "dolittle" because he "hears the voices of those who cannot speak for themselves". narimiya looks like a cat when he smiles, and i got fascinated by that.

the acting overall is good, even when i don't like a character. the production values are decent too. the animals are way cool -- there is even a wild boar piglet. i didn't know japan had wild boars. the music is ... huh. probably decent since i don't remember. theme song is "goodbye" by oda kazumasa -- like that a lot. translation by heiwa; good, but not a lot of notes, and this could have used it with all the medical jargon. but maybe most people are not interested in such detail.

alas the show overall takes itself way too seriously. it becomes preachy very easily, and there is a weird mismatch between much of the education tottori provides to owners (which seems more suited to kids than adults) and the level at which the personal interactions are treated (more suited to adults). i sorta feel like the education is maybe useful for people without a clue, but i didn't learn anything new. the episodes where actual kids were educated felt the most "true" to me.

it's also one worn cliche after another. i mean, i realise that tottori is a typical "jerk with golden heart" character; it just happens to be a cliche i am fond of. the episodes are formulaic -- either tottori helps somebody who is ungrateful and disses his ability only to come around by the end, or tottori is called in as the pinch hitter, which so happens to foil a competitor, so he keeps the upper hand against those who wish him ill. apparently every other vet in the area is incompetent, while tottori knows how to operate even for rare conditions on exotic animals, which made me roll my eyes not infrequently. there is also an additional theme of turning human misery with each other to joy through unlikely coincidences chanced upon by our hero. next: tottori cures cancer through strict lecturing alone!

the antagonists are quite uni-dimensional, and the political shenanigans bored me.

last but not least i felt the show tried too hard to manipulate me emotionally. i know many shows do that, but i like my strings pulled more subtly.

theme song: goodbye by oda kazumasa (小田和正)
insert song: otoshimono by miwa

[1] i love the japanese for considering glasses sexy.

i can't say i'd heartily recommend it to anyone but fans of the lead actors, and maybe those who're looking for some light entertainment in japanese (it's good for learning weird medical terms!).

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piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
renaissance poisson

July 2014

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