The first drama I'm looking at is: マルモのおきて . The ending theme song and dance are super cute and seem to be super popular to boot, judging from the youtube videos of people dancing to it in their living rooms.
I'm guessing there's a dog in this at some point. The title for this first episode gives it away: 独身男と双子が家族!? 犬がつなげた絆 (A single man and twins, a family!? A bond tied by a dog). Watching any commercial for the show also ruins what I guess would be a surprise (turns out the dog talks) but in this first half of episode 1, the dog hasn't shown up. So far at this point the main characters are:
- Mamoru 護 - the 担当 of a branch in a stationary (文具) company
- Sasakura 笹倉- an old high school baseball buddy of Mamoru's, who suddenly returns for a reunion
- Kaoru 薫 - Sasakura's young daughter, a twin
- Tomoki 友樹 - Sasakura's young son, the other twin
Anyway, finally onto the drama itself.
It begins with Mamoru playing a kind of baseball charades at the reunion.
The only way I'd ever get baseball charades was if the answer was Babe Ruth
and you pointed to left field. Courtesy of "The Sandlot."
Sasakura arrives and their mutual friend, Kubata, proposes a toast to him. He sits down next to Mamoru, an old friend, and only laughs when Mamoru tells him, "Don't sit here, it's too crowded!" Obviously Mamoru is that kind of friend who you would describe as a jerk, if you didn't know him. When Sasakura shows him and Kubata a picture of his children, twins, Mamoru thinks it's funny that they look so different. 「ざしきわらしVS地蔵、って感じ！」 Basically, "it's like one's a fairy and the other's a buddha."
Sasakura is a single father, but he doesn't mind: "It's great having kids. We've been together since they were born. When I'm lonely they're always right there."He tells Mamoru that he would do anything for them, go through any hardship. Mamoru shakes his head and says he can't imagine doing the same. After showing off his children, Sasakura gives Mamoru a baseball, which looks old and seems to have sentimental value. Mamoru tries to give it back.
Sasakura: いいじゃない！やるよ。 Come on, I'm giving it to you.Mamoru finally accepts it, laughing and saying the writing on it is embarrassing. It's from one of their high school games. Sasakura was pitching badly, and during one run into home, his catcher is injured. Mamoru steps in as the substitute. He gives Sasakura the ball and reassures him of his skills. With all of the dramatic music and what not, I was pretty sure that the game would turn around. Sasakura would suddenly have an amazing arm and they'd shut the other team out. Actually, the batter makes a home run, with all bases loaded.
Mamoru: いらねーよ！ I don't want it!
Sasakura: 持ってろって！ I'm telling you to take it!
Take this ball and hold it for a second. Because it's going to
be in the stands soon.
The next day at work, Mamoru has to go with an associate to soothe an angry customer. She's been injured by one of their products, had to go to the hospital, and stayed there for hours, getting angrier and angrier. What exactly happened? Well, she took the pen cap and stuck it in her ear. It ended up cutting her earlobe. Mamoru is in disbelief. "It isn't supposed to be used like that," he says, and the woman is extremely offended. "Does it say not to stick it in your ear?" Well, some people have to be told, I guess. This was a pretty funny scene. I loved when the associate gives her a gift to make up for the 'trouble' their product caused and she takes it saying, "Oh, it's not like I did this to get something out of it..."
"Also I've been drinking the ink. What? It doesn't say not to!"
Back at work Mamoru gets a call. Not from another crazy customer, but from Sasakura. He says he had a good time last night, but Mamoru gets on him for calling: "What are you doing calling me at work? We don't have much to talk about now these days." It seems like Sasakura has something that he wants to say, but before he can, the apparent object of Mamoru's secret affections enters the office, and Mamoru hangs up, telling Sasakura that he's busy.
You know, ho's before bro's, yo!
After work Mamoru returns home. Home is a small room above a restaurant which serves whale, as evidenced by the giant letters spelling out KUJIRA. It seems he lives there alone with the owner, but as he changes the light bulb in the hallway a new face enters the scene. It's Aya, the owner's daughter. She's returned unexpectedly. There's a lot of humor in this scene too. As her father talks about how cold it will be to sleep on the sofa, his daughter says "That's OK, the cold doesn't bother you." Wait a minute, is he sleeping on the sofa? The daughter nods: 「当たり前でしょう。何言ってるの？」 "Naturally! What are you talking about?" We all know people like this. They are the people that cut the biggest piece of cake for themselves. Tragedy of tragedies!
Leaving Father and Daughter alone, Mamoru heads up to his room, which is pretty dirty...
Personal reaction: きたない！ちゃんと掃除しろよ！
There he eats his dinner alone. When he's done he accidentally pushes the baseball from the table. It lands on the floor with a thud. Now, if you've watched enough dramas, you'll know that things falling on the floor/breaking equals very bad juju. My something-is-going-dooooown-sense is tingling! Mamoru picks up the ball, looks at it with an affection he didn't show at the party, and puts it carefully on a shelf.
The ball says, 高木間護 一生バッテリー！笹倉純一郎
バッテリー means pitcher and catcher in baseball lingo.
The funny ends the next day, as the ball falling on the floor led me to believe. At work Mamoru gets a call about Sasakura from their mutual friend Kubata. I felt a little moved by the scene. I think if you've ever received news, or seen someone receive news of a death, you'll notice the split second of confusion. Kubata tells Mamoru, 「今朝、なくなったんだ」, but Mamoru doesn't get it. Kubata has to clarify, 「死んだんだよ」. Sasakura had died that morning. Mamoru is stunned. He quickly runs to meet Kubata at Sasakura's house. There, he learns from Kubata that Sasakura was sick with cancer. Mamoru is hurt to find out that Kubata knew this and hadn't told him.
Mamoru： お前、全部知ってたのか？You knew?Kubata：まあ・・・ ああ。Well... Yes.Mamoru：知ってて何で言わねえーんだよ！If you knew why didn't you tell me?Kubata：悪い。笹倉に頼まれたさ。お前に言うなってっ！I'm sorry. Sasakura asked me not to tell y--!Mamoru：悪いんじゃねーんだよ！Don't say you're sorry!
Mamoru is angry and grabs Kubata by the shirt, but Kubata shakes him off and begins to explain the reasons behind Sasakura's decision to keep him out of the loop. What would you have done, he asks Mamoru, if you'd heard that Sasakura was sick?
Mamoru：それはもっと、こう、最後ぐらいにやさしくして、仲良くっ。Well, I would've, you know, been nicer, been friendly at the end--.Kubata：笹倉それがイヤだったんじゃないか？最後に急にやさしく 仲良くされて余計さびしいだろう！ああ、これで最後だなぁって、思うだろう！いつものお前じゃなかった、会っても意味ねーだろう！You don't think Sasakura would have hated that? Suddenly being treated more nicely, more friendly, that would've been too lonely. He would have thought, "Oh, this is the end isn't it!" What's the hell is the point of seeing you again if it isn't the you he knew?
Inside the house Mamoru sees Sasakura's body. He pulls the handkerchief from his friend's face and says aloud to him, "Why didn't you say anything? Tell me if you're going to die. Tell me!" As he sits there, Sasakura's son enters. Mamoru quickly replaces the handkerchief. The boy, Tomoki, says, 「パパ、ハンカチかけたら、息がくるしいよね」 "It will be hard for Papa to breathe with a handkerchief on his face."
I was like, noooooooo kids say the saddest things Q-Q.
Next we're introduced to the girl, Kaoru. She is the oldest of the twins and has apparently assumed the role very well. She tells him to come to her, outside of the room, as if to protect him.
At the funeral, Mamoru overhears the sister and brother of Sasakura arguing. The brother had promised Sasakura that he would take both children, but he says he can't. They were just words to ease his brother's mind. He wants to split the children up. One will go with his sister, the other with him. The sister is upset that he made a promise he couldn't keep, but she's not a saint herself. I think it's less that he broke a promise to their dead brother and more that this means she'll have to take another child on that angers her. The brother explains to the children that they will be split up - Kaoru with her aunt, Tomoki with him, the uncle. Kaoru quickly reminds her uncle of his promise: でも、一緒にいるって、パパと約束したもん！
The uncle admits that her father asked that they be kept together, but tells her that for her and her brother to get strong, it's better for them to live separately. Kaoru shakes her head: でも、でもパパそのこと言わなかったよ! But, but that's not what dad said! Watching her in this scene made me so sad. Mana Ashida plays the role perfectly. You know that look and way of speaking that children have when they firmly believe something and are being told it isn't true? I think she nailed it.
Before the end of this half of episode one, we see that start of their forced separation. The uncle bends down and tells Tomoki, 「ほら、お姉ちゃんにバイバイしな」 "Say goodbye to your sister." Tomoki refuses: やーだ！
I think the reason I like to be saddened by children in dramas like this is because
I loved Home Alone and therefore McCauly Culkin, and then he died in My Girl
and I cried. Now my reactions to movie happiness and tragedy are forever linked.
I really wanted to watch more, but my time was over. Plus, then I had to write this. My notes are two pages made up of セリフ and 感想. And I have already gone over the 1 hour limit. I guess next time I should just do a 感想 instead of a あらすじ kind of thing, but this way I have to listen for specific words, not just content. While I can guess the direction it's going to be going, I really enjoy it so far. We'll see if my opinion changes once the talking dog comes in.