Inaba Rika, whose childhood dream was to become a news reporter, is instead a director for an informative TV program. At one point, she was a reporter; however, her career was cut short after her ambitious habits for obtaining and reporting news provoked too many people. Sorai Daisuke is a former fighter pilot, who was so~ close to achieving his dream of being a pilot for the flying squadron, "Blue Impulse. Unfortunately, his involvement in an accident causes him to be reassigned to the public relations office. This is the story about how two people who have to deal with having their dreams crushed.
Cast & Credits
But I'm hair-splitting. Soratobu Kouhoushitsu is a terrific drama, one that starts without any pomp or expectations and slowly sneaks into the heart and under your skin. It does so in such a gradual, delicate and suave way the effect is powerful and lasting. By the end, I was so sad to see these characters go I couldn't bring myself to watch the last 15 minutes.
When I begin to feel nostalgic about something that isn't even over yet, it means I'm seriously in love. This is why I am not at all sure I'll be able to convey the feeling with my review, or convince any of you to watch this little jewel of a drama. This is not a rom-com, it's not melo, it's not a thriller, nor a simple life drama; it doesn't rely on plot twists, nor on sexy heroes... and yet my heart has stopped many times while watching.
Perhaps the main reason is in the acting, which is wonderful. I never needed confirmation of Aragaki Yui's acting skill, since I've loved her in everything she's acted in. This role however has sealed the issue. I loved everything about Ina-pyon, from her stubborn and passionate honesty at the beginning, to her compassion and better understanding she grows into. And I adored the chemistry she shared on screen with an outstanding Ayano Go, whom I have every intention of becoming a stalker to.
Honourable mention to Shibata Kohei, the most lovable, unforgettable and adorable chief ever appeared on screen. I'm almost offended that the actor isn't even mentioned in the cast. He was awesome here, the kind of character everyone would like to have as a father, or a superior at work.
Hats off to everyone else, from a gorgeous Renn Kiriyama to a hilarious Mizuno Miki, from a surprising Katsuhisa Namase to a sweetly idiotic Jun Kaname.
I can't possibly not mention the cinematography. Stunning. While watching I had to stop the screen every other minute to get a screenshot. Beautiful colours, terrific attention to little details, masterful use of camera angles. Truly lovely.
The same could be said about the music. Not too many pieces are used, but the few have the ability to enhance the scene and play with the viewer's feelings, just what an Ost should do.
I am well aware that I haven't said much about the main subjects of this drama. You may be wondering at this point: what it is about?
Please, bear with me. If my experience is anything to go by, this is a drama better approached without expectations or prejudice. Let its charm work on you as it did on me, by surprise.
...It's so cute. It's so normal. It's exactly what I was not expecting in a drama about a self defense force.
Sorai is learning about what it means to project an image to the people. He's so used to just being in the cockpit that he never realized that some people might see fighter planes as just for that: fighting. Inaba is a big kick in the pants to his ego there, and the two are so cute in their initial bickering and then total geeking out over different airplanes. I love the way they teach each other throughout the show.
Not only is the cast brilliant, but the writing is really effective in conveying things you might never have thought about in terms of the Japanese military. There's a reference, I won't mention how or why, to the March 11th disaster that is really effectively done. Similarly PR videos and people's reactions to them for the JASDF, and "even" and "uneven" reporting, are discussed at length in complex, intellectual ways. Everything is supporting by a thin layer of witty, happy humor that just ties this show together so well.
The music is a great addition too, with Amuro Namie's "Contrail" as the insert/ending song. Plus everything is shot so beautifully, all the airplanes and training exercises.
For people looking for an interesting subject drama, this is definitely one. And there's a fantastic romance subplot that is ever-present throughout, so even if you're not used to checking out this kind of drama, I still think it will work for you.
I'm a huge fan of ensemble drama, and SK did not disappoint in the slightest. There are episodes that focus on each of the PR department's members, but the main characters Inaba and Sorai are never lost in those shifts of focus. The balance is perfect. SK is a winner, and definitely my favorite of the season.