“Yokoso Wagaya e” has been criticized long before it starts to air for a lot of reasons but mainly because of a Johnny in Getsu 9 timeslot in a work written by Ikeido Jun of Hanzawa Naoki. Personally, I was also discouraged to see this drama since I wasn’t so impressed with Ikeido’s “Hanasaki Mai” and stalker and harassment stories isn’t my cup of tea. Nevertheless, Yokoso Wagaya e might just bring-out the best in Aiba Masaki and there’s that thrill of guessing who is behind it while sharing the frustrations of Kurata family.
Here is a quick recap of Yokoso, wagaya e : Episode 1
Kurata Kenta (Aiba Masaki) is having a tough time at work, he’s a freelance commercial designer whose latest work gets rejected. The publishing house wants to give the book cover project to a newbie and says that if both books were seen side-by-side in a bookstore, it’s highly likely that the newbie’s monochrome design will be picked up.
Kenta tries to defend his design, tries to reason-out why he drew this and that but the publisher has set his mind on the newbie’s work. In the end, Kenta didn’t get the job and he can only sigh in frustration on how he’s such a coward. Kenta laments that he’s always been like that, the type of person who won’t defend himself, the type who always says sorry even if he’s not at fault, the type to give way, and the type who is most likely to be blame for something he didn’t do.
On his way home, the amount of his frustration have escalated and finally reach it’s tipping point so he did something unexpected from him. He told-off a guy who tries to jump in line in a train station. The bonnet wearing guy fell and spilled his cigarettes while the people at the station looks at him with disgust and tells him to apologize. Kandori Asuka (Sawajiri Erika) gathers his cigarettes and tells the bonnet guy (since he doesn’t have a name, I’ll stick to this) to apologize or ran away as she hand over his cigarettes.
The bonnet guy takes his cigarette and chose the second option, which is to run away and everything seem to be back to normal at the train station. Kenta is obviously in shock by the simple gesture that he did, Asuka even went over to him and tells him that he did a brave thing and he must not mistake that she’s interested to him or anything.
Kenta reaches his train stop and goes to ride a bus on his way home. The driver announces that they’re departing, he closes the door, only to opened it again after three seconds or so and to Kenta’s shock, the bonnet guy enters the bus and stands near the driver. His back is turned away from Kenta but he can feel that the bonnet guy knows that he’s inside the bus.
The scary and uneasy trip starts and in each bus stop, Kenta silently wishes for the bonnet guy to just step down. But he didn’t and Kenta gets scarier than ever until he reaches his stop, he chose to wait until the last second before the door closes and dashes outside. Well, he realized that he left his umbrella in the bus and just a few feet away, the bus stops again and the bonnet guy steps off. Scared by the turn of events, Kenta runs as fast as he can with the bonnet guy just a few feet away from him.
When he finally thought that he has lost him, he goes straight to their cute neighborhood and to their simple house. His sister, Nana (Arimura Kasumi), also arrives and mom Keiko (Minami Kaho) and dad Taichi ( Terao Akira) welcomes them. Keiko asks Kenta about his work and Kenta subtlety says that he got rejected, Nana says that his work has been bad and Kenta tells her that he doesn’t want to hear something about work from a jobless student like Nana.
Nana notices a scratch on Kenta’s cheek and he says that there was some mishap at the station. Keiko is surprise that Kenta got into a fight and Nana says that her brother won’t do something like getting involve in a fight. Kenta says that he just told off a guy who won’t wait for his turn and Nana says that that’s already a huge thing for Kenta to do. Keiko hopes that something good will come from Kenta’s good intentions but Taichi contradicts her and tells Kenta not to do something unnecessary because he doesn’t know how people reacts nowadays. Keiko also agrees and says that Kenta might get stabbed or something and thinking about the earlier event makes Kenta itch for a bath.
While in the bath, Kenta thinks about his father’s words and how he inherited his wimpy attitude from his dad. He’s dad has always been like him, not the type who would argue nor interfere in things that aren’t his business.
The next day, Nana wakes-up Kenta with a sense of urgency, Keiko’s beloved flowers had been pulled-out from their pots and upon seeing those flowers, Kenta knew that the battle between bonnet guy and his family have begun.
At work, Taichi tells the story to his co-worker and sympathizes how Keiko have grown and took care of those flowers for years. Anyway, Nishizawa Setsuko (Yamaguchi Sayaka) goes to Taichi and asks if he has seen the trial balance that she did, Taichi apologizes for neglecting it when Mase Hiroki (Takenaka Naoto) comes in complaining about the approved prize amount for the JP Electronics competition. Taichi, an employee from Aoba Bank designated in Nakano Electronics, reasons-out that the 30,000 Yen is what they can offer and Mase argues that since the company have just entered a partnership with JP Electronics, they should show some gratitude from increasing the prize money from 30,000 to 50,000 Yen. Mase orders Taichi to add another 20,000 Yen and being not an argumentative person, Taichi chooses to agree.
Elsewhere, Kenta gets another freelance designing work from his friend, Kawabe. Kawabe feels bad that even though they started in the office together, only Kawabe gets to remained. Kenta says that it’s okay and is even thankful that Kawabe passed some work to him. On his way home, Kenta sees Asuka and tells her his suspicions that the bonnet guy must have pulled-out the flowers from his home even though he was sure that he had lost him.
While Asuka believes Kenta’s story, she doesn’t think that the bonnet guy would do something like that after being warned. She says that the man might look suspicious at first with his bonnet but he was wearing designer goods like bag from Louis Vuitton and watch from Frank Muller so it’s unlikely. Hah? That makes him more suspicious. Anyway, Kenta asks Asuka if she thinks that the bonnet guy won’t bother the Kurata’s again and Asuka suggests that they investigate it.
They exchanged cards and it was revealed that Asuka works as a magazine reporter and thinks that Kenta’s story will be an interesting article and will raise sympathy from readers. Kenta refuses her idea and Asuka casually bid him goodbye.
The next day, Keiko’s potted flowers weren’t only pulled, they were also trashed. Nana thinks that it’s time for them to call the police, after all, it’s creepy enough that the same thing was done twice. Taichi thinks that it’s such a small thing to let the police involve and that the neighbors might worry.
At his office, KK Designs, Kenta gets an unexpected visitor with Asuka. Asuka says that she’s intrigued with Kenta’s story since it’s weird that someone will put on that much effort to chase Kenta and even do those stuff. Kenta thinks that the bonnet guy just has a stubborn personality and while Asuka agrees with his assumption, she also thinks that the man’s tenacity to wait until everyone has fallen asleep before he pulled those flowers. Just imagine the guy, waiting near the Kenta’s residence, out there in the cold, uncaring even if he misses the last train and so just to pull-out those flowers. Asuka thinks that a proper adult won’t do such bothersome thing and Kenta shares that the flowers were again trashed this morning.
Asuka thinks that it’s really weird for someone to exert that much effort for just a simple mishap at the train station. Asuka asks Kenta if he’s sure that he lost the man on his way back home that day. Kenta says he’s sure that he lost him and Asuka asks about the other members of his family. Kenta thinks that Keiko gets along pretty well with the other mothers in the neighborhood. In fact, in Keiko’s pottery class, she gets praises from mamas leader Shimomura Tamiko (Horiuchi Keiko) and their teacher Hato Seiji (Mashima Hidekazu) for her talent.
Asuka probes more into the family and Kenta shares that he has a sister. Speaking of his sister, Nana tells the incident to her friend, Hobara Marie (Adachi Rika), and Marie thinks that it must be Tsujimoto’s (Fujii Ryuusei) work. Marie shares that Tsujimoto once stalked his ex-girlfriend that the girl was forced to move away. Proving her point, Tsujimoto is standing outside the cafe, and staring at Nana.
Asuka says that most stalking incident are due to love trouble and tells Kenta to try asking her sister. Asuka also asks about Kenta’s father and knowing about his father’s love for staying out of arguments, Kenta thinks that it’s highly unlikely.
Speaking of Kenta’s father, Setsuko consults him about some discrepancies with Mase’s travel expenses. It seems like aside from their company, Mase also receives additional travel funds from Chiba Electronics. Taichi says that Mase’s track record at sales has always been good and wants to give him a leeway but Setsuko argues that Mase has received funds for over a year.
Anyway, Setsuko managed to convince Taichi to talk to Mase about it. Mase confirms that he did received additional funds but also defends his actions. Mase asks if Taichi will tell about it to the director and Taichi says that it’s his job to do so.
At Asuka’s job, she’s still thinking about Kenta’s stalker and his editor-in-chief, Kanie Shutaro (Sato Jiro) wants her to quit thinking so much about it. Asuka thinks that he has seen the bonnet guy somewhere else but Kanie is more busy thinking about his date with Silvia-chan.
During dinner, Kenta asks Nana if she has a boyfriend since most stalker are ex-boyfriend’s with grudges. Nana denies that she has one and jokingly asks Keiko if she had an affair. Keiko denies and laughs it off and Nana turns the question to Taichi, but before he can answer, she concludes that her father doesn’t have the courage to do something like that.
That night, Kenta looks over his window for any suspicious person while he works the entire night on his design for the paper bag of Patissiere Reine. He finally gets satisfied with his work in the morning and throws away his rejected designs in the nearby trash bin when he sees that his bike’s seat has been slashed off.
Enough is enough for the Kurata’s so they decided to report it to the police. Kenta asked if there were similar incidents and the police says that there were recent vandalism around the area. He also says that they have strengthen their patrolling and that it’s highly likely that it’s caused by the same perpetrator. Obviously, his not thinking too much about the Kurata’s issue.
At Taichi’s work, the director, Mochikawa Toru (Kondo Yoshimoso), finally learns about Mase’s funds. However, the results were different and Mochikawa says that Chiba Electronics denies giving Mase any travel funds and that it was their employee’s mistake for handing out the wrong report. He tells Taichi that he doesn’t want any trouble at work so he knows what to do. Taichi apologizes to Mase for his hindsight and Mase is not satisfied with just an apology. Before Taichi can even lower himself and kneel for Mase’ forgiveness, Setsuko goes to the rescue and tells Mase that he’s barking at the wrong tree. After all, it was the fault of Chiba electronic’s employee for giving a wrong report and if he wants an apology, he should go to that person and not to Taichi. Also, Taichi confirmed the report before handing it out to the director and if Mase thought that it was wrong report, he should have said so beforehand and asks why he didn’t say anything about.
Well, Mase can’t really argue with Setsuko since she hits all the right buttons and decided to play the gender card byt saying that Setsuko is so argumentative that her husband left him. Ugh. Setsuko isn’t someone to just accept things easily so she throws something at Mase and says that she won’t forgive such a sly person.
Afterward, the department chief of Aoba Bank, Yagi Toshiharu (Takada Junji), meets with Taichi and they talk about work. Yagi says that Aoba Bank employees sent to Nakano Electronics were usually return back to the post even after their contract expires. Yagi says that it’s because Taichi usually gets along with everyone so he’s the man for that kind of job. Taichi says that the company only did that because he’s a convenient person and even if he doesn’t want to continue at Nakano Electronics, it’s not like he can do anything about it.
Kenta is also having a bad time at work, Patissiere Reine chose not to work with him after they received prank faxes warning them not to work with Kurata Kenta. Confirming his suspicions that the bonnet guy might be behind it, Keiko receives something strange in their mailbox, a design for Patissiere Reine. However, the said design seems to had been ripped-up and pasted again. Kenta thinks that those were his rejected designs, which he threw away, only to be picked-up by his stalker.
Kenta goes home and is surprise that their front door is locked. Frankly, it should have been always locked in the first place. Keiko and Nana opens the door for him and drags him upstairs. In there, they try to be as discreet as possible and slowly parted the curtains. Outside and in the nearby park, they told Kenta that a man has been standing there for a long time and is watching their house. Kenta decides to take action and confront the man with a golf club and flashlight as his only weapon.
Anyway, the imminent confrontation becomes a chasing game that Kenta didn’t even get to see his face. His only proof that they guy was there were the remnants of several used cigarettes to where he was standing, and those cigarettes matches those that the bonnet guy used.
Elsewhere, Asuka and his editor-in-chief are in some district after dinner, Kanie invites him to have some drinks and when he points out to the nearby hostess club, Asuka decides to decline. So Kanie goes to the hostess club alone and excitedly calls his Silvia-chan who also happens to be Setsuko. What? Why?
Night comes and it starts to rain. Kenta volunteers to keep watch during the night, he comes down and sees his father drinking. Taichi thinks that it will be okay for the night since it has started to rain and Kenta can only hope. Anyway, Taichi was looking at two different calling cards before Kenta came down, both bear his name but from different companies, one from Aoba and one from Nakano Electronics. Taichi asks Kenta if he enjoys his job and when Kenta asks why he suddenly asks, Taichi says that it must be great to do something you like for a living since he has always been a salaryman so he wouldn’t know that feeling.
Upstairs, Kenta parted his curtains again and look on at the rain drenched street. Elsewhere, two men can be seen spending their night under the rain, one is Tsujimoto who busily looks over his cellphone, and the other one is Hato-sensei who looks over the rain before he goes out from his car.
Kenta closes back his curtains, lie down, and unknown to him, a hooded guy stands outside in the park’s bridge.
The next day, the Kurata household wakes up with Keiko’s screams as they run outside. In the mailbox is a dead pussycat and a few minutes later, a fax arrives with a message:
What a fun family, I’ll come back again.
The Kurata’s stands in shock as they look over the faxed message and in the park’s bridge nearby is Kenta’s umbrella.
Yokoso, Wagaya e started on a right note, it wasn’t overly creepy to scare first time viewers but it wasn’t that bland either that it will bore you. Though I still think that the way the stalker reacted over that mishap is so over-the-top, I also believe that there are people who reacts differently even with simplest things. Maybe the stalker was having an awful day just like Kenta and being embarrassed in front of other commuters is the last draw.
I’m sure that the succeeding episodes will be creepier and I want to see more of those, but I guess that the staying power of this drama is the mystery behind the stalker’s identity and his story. Aside from Kenta’s story, I’m sure there are other stalkers who are out to harass the other members of the family. It’s given that Mase is out to make Taichi’s job harder for him but I don’t think that aggressive people like Mase would do something behind Taichi’s back, I’m guessing that there’s more to Setsuko and even with Yagi.
Then there’s Keiko, a dutiful housewife that is irksome enough for other mamas. Geez, that scene at the pottery art class is making me cringe because everyone is like, so pretentious. Hato looks shady enough but there’s also something vile about Tamiko’s praises and smiles over Keiko. On Nana, Tsujimoto looks creepy enough but Nana’s personality comes off as strong unlike her brother so I hope that she’s not the type who will just accept harassments.
Finally on Kenta, I’m not sure whether I should sympathize with his bad luck or say it’s his fault for being a wimp, it’s not right for someone to be harass. Aside from the bus ride scene, I think one of the creepiest scene in this drama is after he’d seen the dead cat from the mailbox and he turned his back to the park, it’s not because he felt that the stalker was there but because he saw his umbrella hanging at the makeshift bridge and somehow, he knew. His realization and confirmation that bonnet guy has been harassing him is creepy enough.
Other than that, Aiba have gone a long way from his Mikenoko acting. I can really see him as Kenta and not as Aiba Masaki. For the first episode, he did well in his character portrayal.
Furthermore, the location of the Kenta’s residence is so right with this drama’s title. Located in at the end and middle of the street, it’s really like they are welcoming everyone in their home. Not to mention, unlock doors will give everyone the impression that they are free to come in.
For first impressions, it’s a good watch for this season, it’s not a gem but its rough edges can be smoothed along the way.
Usual credits apply.