As always, family dramas can be quite tricky, it could mirror your own family and you’ll start making comparisons and judgements; it could show a totally cool family and you’ll argue how unrealistic it is; or it could just be something typical, no dramas and no frills.
Here is a quick recap for “Tokyo Bandwagon” episode 1,
The story starts with Hotta Ao (Kamenashi Kazuya) being kicked-out from a Police box because of his senseless mumbling about love while under the effects of alcohol. Makino Suzumi (Tabe Mikako) looks-on with disgust as she ran away for fear that Ao might be a pervert.
On to next day, Shitamachi‘s Hotta family starts their day with a lively meal before their secondhand bookshop and Cafe opens to the public. The 4-generation members of the family were introduced (with the decease grandmother as the voice-over) starting with the head of the family- grandpa Hotta Kanichi (Hiraizumi Sei), grandson Kon (Kaneko Nobuaki), Kon’s wife Ami (Taira Airi), Kon’s son Kento (Kimino Yuma), granddaughter Aiko (Mimura), Aiko’s daughter Kayo (Ozawa Runa), and grandson Ao (Kamenashi Kazuya).
Aside from being a huge family, the Hotta’s are also known for making “rules” and trying their best to keep up with it, just like their family rule, “Any small problem relating from culture to civilization shall be resolved with any means”.
As the 18th century home opens to the public, Ao went-out and casually drink a milk (?), he voluntary puts himself to a “drinking ban” following his last night’s behavior when Hotta Ganato (Tamaki Koji), grandpa Kanichi’s only son, returns home from his month-long musical tour. Ao is not particularly happy about it his father’s return since he sees his father as an irresponsible human being who loves to talk about love all the time.
Speaking of bickering, a fight is ensuing inside the bookstore as Fujishima Naoya (Inohara Yoshihiko) is again trying to buy-off the bookstore from Kanichi, and as expected, he was met with resistance and was driven out from the house like an evil spirit.
Grandpa Kanichi was able put-up the bookstore from the books he collected all througout the years and he’s not gonna sell them to a greenhorn like Naoya. Kanichi knows every nook and cranny of his bookstore so he was surprised to see two new encyclopedias in his bookstore’s lower shelf.
Onwards, Ao decided to pay Suzumi a visit to her college, Suzumi was reluctant to see him until he returned an old book belonging to Suzumi, which she must dropped during their encounter last night. Ao made a promise to Suzumi that he hold-off drinking for a while and invites Suzumi to visit “Tokyo Bandwagon”, their family’s bookstore known for selling secondhand books.
That night, brothers’ Ao and Kon decided to have a talk about Tokyo Bandwagon’s successor while playing shogi. The two contemplates that it could not have been a problem if their father (Ganato) was responsible enough to take-over the shop.
As the story continues, the Hotta’s meddlesome attitude shine as they decipher the mystery involving the two encyclopedias. Apparently, the encyclopedia was being left by Nami-chan, a grade-schooler from the neighborhood. Nami-chan uses the encyclopedias as a “weight” to enter their apartment because their apartment’s door has a weight sensor.
Aiko argues that she could have just jumped with all her might than adding extra weight on her. Nami-chan said that their apartment’s janitor used to help her by jumping to enter.
Later on, it was revealed that the said janitor, Ken (Mistuishi Ken), happens to be Nami-chan’s grandfather. However, Ken can’t bring himself to reveal this secret to Nami’s mother because he left her when she was younger and she might not forgive him.
The said revelation didn’t bode well for Ao since his own mother left him when he was young. This makes Ao and Kon half-brothers. After Ao made a tirade on Ken’s irresponsible behavior, the Hotta family learned that Aiko’s daughter – Kayo- have gone missing. Kayo runaway after she argued with Aiko about her father’s real identity. However, Aiko would rather keep mum about Kayo’s father. Ganato later found Kayo in the one of the store’s storage rooms and told her how much Aiko loves her and stuff, a thing that Ao heard as well.
As one problem gets resolved, Ganato decides to ultimately meddle with Ken’s life by calling attention to himself and staging an impromptu concert at the top of the apartment. After Ganato’s well-applaud performance and before he gets shooed by the police, he took it into himself by revealing to Nami’s mother about his friend who made a mistake years ago.
In the end, the father and daughter finally met each other, Naoya finally got some nods from Kanichi by giving praises to a certain book but not into selling off the store, Naoya also fell for Aiko’s beauty, and as Ao resumes drinking beer after learning that his Dubai trip got cancelled, Suzumi arrives to pay “Tokyo Bandwagon” a visit.
I really had a hard time making a recap for this episode because not only there were lots of characters and several sub-plots were thrown that its hard to focus with just one. I can’t just ignore those sub-plots because they basically make for the entire plot that it’s quite hard to shorten this recap.
That aside, “Tokyo Bandwagon” started by showcasing the Hotta’s meddlesome nature with the 4-generation family taking-on the center stage. It’s something that can be annoying or amusing since being a busybody don’t really bode well to anyone.
Moreover, the drama’s premise with solving “mysterious” cases weren’t really mysterious and it somehow fell flat and boring; it makes you think that this is what happens to someone who doesn’t have a regular job.
As for Kamenashi and Mikako, you can’t see some sparks yet since Mikako’s introduction has been lackluster that it’s hard to gauge her character’s importance. Nonetheless, I’m expecting that the succeeding episodes will add shine to her character.
In addition, Kamenashi as the main character isn’t really the drama’s highlight. It’s impossible for Ao to be the only main character since aside from the huge family, there’s really nothing so special about his own life for the entire story to revolve around him.
Despite all the negativity mentioned above, “Tokyo Bandwagon” made me wish that my family is as carefree as the Hotta’s. The drama tries to show us a not-so-typical family where everyone goes along well despite their differences. It might be unrealistic or I just find it unacceptable that such family exist.
All in all, I’m hoping that “Tokyo Bandwagon” has more interesting sub-plots in their succeeding episodes because my family has more interesting dramas to share.
Raw and subs: Yokai Subs
Screencaps : mine
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