Saturday, July 9, 2011

Mop Girl J-Drama Revie (2007)


Title: Mop Girl (Japanese: モップガール)
Episodes: 10
TV Station: TV Asahi
Broadcast Time: October 12, 2007 to December 14, 2007 on Fridays at 23:15
Genre: Comedy, mystery
Average TV Rating: 10.2%

Kitagawa Keiko as Hasegawa Momoko
Miyama Karen as young Hasegawa Momoko
Tanihara Shosuke as Otomo Shotaro
Asami Reina as Okouchi Hina
Takaoka Sousuke as Wakayama Akira
Sato Jiro as Higashi Shigeo
Magii as Yokouchi Atsushi
Watanabe Natsuna as Nakamura Tamaki
Ikezu Shoko as Kataoka Miki
Hanagata Ayasa as Satomi Reiko
Hori Mayumi as Ryoko (Shotaro's ex-lover)
Honda Hirotaro as Hasegawa Ryuji
Hayashi Yasufumi as Hasegawa Keigo

Kitagawa plays the part of the slow but hardworking Momoko, a low-ranking employee at a funeral services company who carries a mop as part of her job. However, Momoko happens to possess a strange ability. Whenever she comes across the corpse of someone who has left strong feelings behind, she travels back in time to save that person from his or her fate.

55th Television Drama Academy Awards:
Special Award: Kitagawa Keiko

My Review
As interesting as the synopsis is, Mop Girl is another show that's somewhat mixed for me. It seems to be Japan's version of the American TV show, True Calling. However, Mop Girl also has a lot of similarities to another J-Drama in the same genre, Remote. These similarities include the combination of comedy and mystery, with a ditzy female lead and a more serious male lead who has a dark past. Like Remote, Mop Girl is episodic and involves murder cases.

However, similarities aside, Mop Girl does hold its own pretty well. The episodic plot is done well with some well-written cases as well as some good comedy. The comedic timing is pretty good, and the wacky humor is pretty funny. I especially liked episode 8, when the main characters Otomo (played by Tanihara Shosuke) and Momoko (played by Kitagawa Keiko) had to question a bunch of wacky characters, including a lesbian, a sadistic, and an author obsessed with over the top cute, childish fiction. It was also funny to see that Momoko's ditzy side runs in her family. Momoko's brother and father are both well educated doctors, but have their share of dumbass moments that were amusing. Also making the drama cool was the theme song, Destination Nowhere by Sawajiri Erika (1 Litre of Tears).

Keiko was great in her role as the ditzy character Momoko, a woman who was given a strange ability to travel back in time to prevent murders from happening. She was really funny and adorable at the same time, which gave me another reason to like her after seeing her in Buzzer Beat. Tanihara Shosuke was also good as the stoic male lead Otomo Shotaro. However, Tanihara's character has a really cheesy running gag of flirting with foreign women. These two have a common background story. Several years back when Momoko was a little girl, she was saved by Otomo's then-girlfriend Ryoko during a motorcycle accident. It's during this time that Ryoko passed on her strange ability to Momoko. Most of the two leads' development revolves around their common backstory. However, some of Momoko's development is her trying to make sense of her strange ability and is it ethical to use it.

However, Good Luck!! the writing towards the end of the series prevents this drama from being a very good one. Eventually Otomo finds out that Momoko was saved by Ryoko, but Momoko who's on her death bed, is suddenly sent back in time and it's like the whole thing never happened. The last episode lacks closure and it seems the producers wanted to make a movie or a second season, but it never happened. This drama could have used another episode or could have written the last episode better.

* Kitagawa Keiko and Tanihara Shosuke both acted very well in this drama.
* Episodic done well with well written cases and stories.
* Comedic timing is good and this series is pretty funny.
* Theme Song was ok.

* Poor writing during the last episode, the characters' overarching story isn't tied together.
* The running gag of Otomo constantly flirting with foreign women is cheesy.

My Rating
7.5/10- Overall, this was a good drama, but it could have been better if it weren't for the writing hiccup towards the end.