|Japanese Drama (2011)||Episodes: 11|
|Genre: Comedy/Friendship||My Score: 7.5/10 ★★★★☆|
|Summary: A timid child welfare agent gets his body switched with a yakuza boss. They agree to play as each other so nobody suspects the change. As a result, the pair team up to save children together, becoming unlikely friends in the process.|
|Lead Actors: Matsuda Shota and Takahashi Katsumi
Well this was better than I was expecting! It has the kind of the “GTO standard” of gangster/troublemakers saving children, except in this story, it’s about a duo. Half the drama is about working with troubled children, and the other half is about an unlikely friendship between a yakuza boss and government worker. (Yes, the drama is about the yakuza boss just as much as it’s about Matsuda’s character… which is why I don’t like how Matsuda’s the only one on the promotional cover. Ah well.)
Of course, it has it’s touching moments, but overall, it’s a comedy. I found myself giggling a lot.
The acting was good! Matsuda’s initial character was so prim and by-the-book. I don’t think I’ve seen him in such a gentle, timid style of acting before. When they switch bodies, (right away into the first episode), his expressions are hilarious! It was great. Takahashi’s initial character, the yakuza boss, was really outspoken and does what he wants, but after the switch, he fit the other part perfectly. In fact, the whole time they were switched, I could really believe it. It really felt like they were in each other’s bodies.
Each episode had a different story. There was the abused kid, neglected baby, over-working father, ect… and parallel to that, the yakuza side had something going on as well. So there were two sets of side characters; the government workers and the yakuza family. Not surprisingly, the yakuza side stood out more. They all had eccentric personalities. The office had more characters, though, and we only really got to know two of them well; the chief and the troubled teen girl who started out as the narrator. It’s hard to pick a favorite from the side characters, but I think if I had to choose, I’d go with Hyodo, the yakuza boss’s right-hand man. He was so cool, but funny as well.
You’d think the yakuza guy would grow into a better person while working at the welfare office, however, while he did learn some important things, his character didn’t really develop much. And it wasn’t until the very last episode that he even acknowledged that the welfare office was a good job to have. However, that was part of the humor. Unlike “Great Teacher Onizuka,” or other such characters, this yakuza boss never really tried to be noble when it came to the welfare job. He helped out so often without even trying to; it was almost always for a selfish reason. On the other hand, the timid guy benefited from being in the yakuza boss role. Since he was so passive, it was a good situation for him to learn how to speak up. I love how the two became friends.
Oh and let’s not forget about the soundtrack and opening scene! The opening was an illustration-like animation of Don Quixote and his partner. It was so cute! The music throughout the drama was in Spanish to fit the theme. It really gave a different feeling than other drama soundtracks have, and I loved it.
Watch this drama if you want something simple and amusing. The ending was even perfect! Sadly, I think this drama is overlooked too often. It’s worth watching!