Aiba drama time! When “My Girl” first aired back in 2009, I had high hopes for it–I’m a sucker for father-daughter stories. But, I dropped it after the first or second episode, and upon watching it again, I’m reminded of the reasons I stopped watching it in the first place.
Ratings out of 10:
Plot Development: 2
I’ve always thought of Aiba Masaki, who played the main character, Kazama Masamune, in this drama, as the unfortunate member of Arashi. In most boybands, there’s going to be that one guy who’s not really good at anything–perhaps he just has good looks or he was needed to fill the group. Aiba is that member of Arashi. He’s not a good singer. He’s not a very good dancer. And his acting is mediocre.
The reason I dropped this drama back in 2009 was because I couldn’t stand Aiba’s acting. When I watched the whole drama, his acting did improve with a few episodes, but his performance was largely insincere, and it seemed like he was trying too hard. He never once believably acted like a father. Masamune-kun seemed more like an uncle to his daughter, Koharu, than a father. Even when he was going to sacrifice his career in order for his daughter to be able to go to the school her deceased mother attended as a child, Aiba never accurately portrayed that he was doing this out of love for his daughter. Sure, he cared about Koharu, but it never felt like Masamune loved her as a father. Now, since this drama was done all the way back in 2009, and since Aiba has done other dramas since then, I’m willing give him the chance to improve. So, when I watch another, more current, drama and his acting hasn’t improved, I’m going to have to make the judgment that Aiba Masaki cannot act, which is sad, because I was hoping he’d at least have this. Sakurai is one of the worst members in Arashi too because he isn’t good at singing and has around the same dancing ability as Aiba, but at least he can act. When it comes to the performing arts, Aiba has nothing. *bursts into tears* But, since there’s room for improvement with his acting, let’s hope he got proper training and did improve.
The daughter, Koharu (Ishii Momoka), was not the worst child actor I’ve ever seen (the kid who plays Henry from “Once Upon a Time” anyone?), but she was certainly not the best. Her voice got annoying really quickly. In fact, all the children’s voices in this drama got super annoying. Did they tell them to yell all the time? If my child was always yelling like that when he/she talked, I would tell them to speak a bit quieter. Also, Ishii said all her lines the same way. If she was sad, her tone was always the same. If she was excited, her tone was always the same. There was no variety, and it was clear that she was being told what to do and that she did it exactly as she was told, not really knowing the reason for what she was doing. Now, you can chalk it up to her just being young, but I believe she was six when she played Koharu and there have been children around her age that are able to act as if they understand their characters’ motivations. Just watch “I Am Sam” with Dakota Fanning if you don’t believe me. Also, Xiao Xiao Bin from “Autumn’s Concerto” is another good example.
There’s really no need to go into detail about the other actors. Nobody stood out at all. The acting ranged from mediocre to just okay. Nobody was outstanding.
Plot and Plot Development:
The plot was boring and much too stretched over ten episodes. Much of it was wholly unrealistic also. First of all, the whole circumstance that caused Kazama to learn he was a father five years after the fact, was impractical. Koharu’s caring, maternal grandmother simply handing her granddaughter over to essentially a stranger who has no idea how to be a father would never happen in real life. In fact, in real life, this could potentially be very dangerous for Koharu. I don’t like how they glossed over this whole issue. Then the drama, which was supposed to be about Kazama learning to be a father and care for Koharu, turned into a drama almost solely about Kazama’s devotion to photography. If the drama had been advertised that way, I would have had no problem with it, but since it was advertised as a father-daughter show, I was very disappointed that they barely hit on the issues that come with being a new parent.
When you have a slow plot, you can expect a slow development. But, really, in this drama, there was no development at all. When Kazama decides he wants to take care of Koharu, all development really reached a standstill. Their relationship remained the same throughout the whole drama even when he decides to go to New York for a few years to pursue his photography, leaving Koharu behind. There was so much more that could have been done in developing the relationship between Kazama and Koharu while having a little side story about his photography career, but the directors/writers squandered the attempt.
None of the characters warranted any empathy. Kazama only ever developed within first few episodes, after that, he remains the same. Koharu was way too perfect and intuitive to be a realistic five year old child. The parents, old couple, coworkers, and friends didn’t develop either and remained as characters you wouldn’t really miss if they never showed up again.
The music was the only good part about this drama. I don’t often give a ten when it comes to drama OSTs, but this one definitely deserved a perfect rating. Most of the songs were played on the piano, and they were beautiful. Every song accurately reflected the emotions and actions in the scenes in which they were being played. I don’t recall ever hearing a vocal track in the drama, besides the title sequence with an Arashi song, and that’s something that is very rare in dramas, and was greatly appreciated, especially for a drama like this.
Although it didn’t end the way I would have like it to, the ending of “My Girl” was still alright. All loose ends were tied up, which wasn’t so hard to do since the plot dragged on and on, and there was no wondering at what happened to certain characters. The entire drama ends with Kazama returning from New York and meeting Koharu again. It was short and simple, but sweet.
“My Girl” was a disappointing drama as much for the acting as it was for the plot. I wouldn’t suggest anyone watching this. It certainly isn’t terrible, but it would be a waste of anyone’s precious time to watch.
Overall Rating out of 10: 4.7