To begin with, I'm very skeptical with this drama although it's Ryo-chan's drama. First, he play a daddy role for 2 drama season in a row. To me, that's over-kill, is he that hot commodity that they cannot find any other guy to play Sho-chan? Second, I don't really like first episode. It doesn't start with a bang, even with the kiss as the ending (or is that even called a kiss?). So, with these 2 reason, what I did is to just skip up till episode 6 to see the development. If there's nothing exciting, then this drama goes to my meh list, and judging with the trending of Getsu9 drama, the chance are high. So, what did I saw in episode 6 that actually makes me rewatch episode 1 and start watching this drama?
To keep it short, Zenkai Girl story line is well, nothing new. It's about a girl named Wakaba who grows up in a very poor family with the dad being conned into loan agreement and then harrashed by gangster. Wakaba, doesn't want to be poor forever, so she worked hard, study hard and finally graduated from Tokyo University as a lawyer. Her dream, well, it's like any girl's dream, having a high profile husband, living in an upclass apartment in Manhattan, honeymoon with private jet etc etc. But, after graduate, she needs to find a job to reach all her dreams and she ends up in Sakuragawa Law Firm working as a nanny for the boss' 5 year old daughter, Hinata. Then she met up with Shota, a single dad of Pitaro, Hinata's friend from the same kindergarden. Shota is total opposite of Wakaba's ideal of a man, working as cook in a small restaurant with not much money and a kid on his tow. So, how this will lead to a happy end as you know, Getsu9 ending is usually the guy gets the girl?
I have to admit, I have a weak spot for kids in drama, and especially when they're being cute, but when they cry... it's oh so heartbreaking. And that's what I saw in Episode 6. Yep, the pulling factor for me on this drama is the kids, not the lead lady or lead guy. Am sure Aragaki Yui acts as Wakaba really well, because I do enjoy her acting. However, there's something missing on her character, it's not pulling me into the drama, and her antics that maybe supposed to be LOL are not that, that funny. And Ryo-chan... sigh... I'm not trying to be mean, but I think he's been playing the roles that has not much difference on each other. I kind of understand his character, but his acting is a bit indifferent to me. All his emotion expression is very subtle and it's already episode 8, and don't tell me he's just going to really act by the final episode? So, if the adults are a bit lacking, the kids are the opposite! I like Hinata and Pitaro chemistry. Both are portrayed as smart kids and I don't think I see this on real life, but kids in drama are surprisingly sensitive and mindful to their parents situation. Hinata, grows up with everything that she needs materially, but not her mother's love. She totally understand that her mom needs to work, but at the same time, she's also a kid who wants her mom to come and see her playing at school play just once, or have the mom making her bentou, for example. All of dissapointments and having hopes but at the end gets crushed because her mom keeps on not making her promise bottles up and explode at the end in a such heart breaking cry. She did her best to put up the tough front including bullying Wakaba with her antics, but in the end she's still a kid. Pitaro, is totally different from Hinata. He's a very go lucky and cheerful kid who likes playing and loves his daddy so much, even though they're not blood related. However, though cheerful, Pitaro used to be a crybaby kid and bullied by the neighborhood kids. However, with the love showered by daddy Shota, he grows up to be strong and be the cheerful kid as he is. Pitaro also always keeps in mind that he doesn't have blood relation with Shota, hence he always want Shota to find happiness.
I love drama which has a message behind it, whether it's intentional or unintentional, that's not really my problem. But here's the way I see it in Zenkai Girl. The family element in here is very clear. Although it's meant to be a romantic drama, Episode 6 to 8 is a human drama. In episode 6, we see that for parents, they work so hard to earn money, and they always will say it's for the sake of the kids. However, from the children's point of view, do they really need money that much? They also need their parents love and attention to grow. They still love their parents unconditionally however, that will change if the parents not cultivate that love. Episode 7 shows us how when the parents separated or divorced in this case, the ones who suffer the most are the kid. More than anything, children will always love to see their mom and dad together, and to have to choose who he/she should live with and once chosen, he/she cannot see the other one, it must be a very stressful and heartbreaking decision. And Shota's argument in here makes sense, he's cheating in the sense that kids will choose who they're around with the most and the question is whether that's actually fair for the kid. Episoe 8 is focused on the parents. What a parent do for their kids is just... a total tear jerker. I was bawling as I watch how Wakaba's dad saving on his money every year for the past 24 years for Wakaba's wedding present. It's not a huge sum, but it shows how the dad loved and treasured Wakaba all this time. FYI, I think Wakaba's dad is slightly autistic, and it's played briliantly by Kanbe Hiroshi, and bawled more as Wakaba only realized how much her dad loved her a little bit too late (don't worry no too sad moment here). Another tear jerker moment for me in this episode is when Pitaro tells Wakaba's dad that he's always proud when people said he has the smile as Sho-chan. That shows how Shota loved Pitaro so much and does his best to make Pitaro happy (me: awwww tissue, where are u?).
So, bottom line is, I'd category Zenkai Girl as a family drama, not a rom-com drama. How real is the story? 0, but so does all the previous Getsu9 drama. The most obvious point, there's no way in real life we see a hot single dad with such a good hearted to the point of idiotic character. I hope they keep the momentum until the end of the series. On final note, ending OST is by Kanjani8, Tsubasa ni Koi. It's a nice song, but unfortunately not as pulling as My Home, and worse, I find it even a little bit flat, not as moving, especially after a tear jerker episode.