Jdrama Photo Recap Disclaimer: Since this is both a recap and a review of the show, there will be spoilers here. I’m watching this without English subtitles and while I understand a lot of Japanese, I’m not fluent. There are occasionally parts where I don’t understand what’s going on. And lastly, the photo captions are just snarky jokes and not meant to convey actual dialogue. So if you’re cool with all this, read on and enjoy!
Tatakau Shoten Girl (trans: Fight! Bookstore Girl) is a romance drama airing Tuesdays at 10pm on both Fuji TV and KTV. It’s based on the novel series Shoten Girl by Aono Kei. The story follows Kitamura Aki (played by Watanabe Mayu of AKB48), a young new employee at Pegasus Bookstore, and her manager Nishioka Riko (played by Inamori Izumi). I’m not a huge fan of romance stories but I do like books, so I’m gonna keep an open mind. The first episode was exciting, so let’s talk about it!
The episode opens with DRAMATIC BOOK SHELF STOCKING! LOL. But anyway, it’s a nice introduction to the main character Riko, Aki, and Mita (Chiba Yudai). No matter how different their personalities may be, they are clearly devoted to books. My only question so far is: how does Aki afford that apartment?? It’s so big!
The plot really starts moving when Aki shows up for her first day of work. She’s super enthusiastic about her job, which even includes daring to speak at staff meetings (much to the horror of her coworkers)
At work, Aki is visited by a man who happens to be Riko’s boyfriend (I don’t know his name so I’m calling him Boyfriend) along with a younger guy named Obata (Daito Shunsuke). Obata kinda likes Aki and Boyfriend apologizes to Riko for some reason.
Riko goes drinking with her coworker friend after work. They’re pretty drunk and speculate about the possibility of Boyfriend proposing to Riko soon. The guy sitting beside them (Tanabe Seiichi) is subtly eavesdropping.
Riko’s friend leaves and Riko accidentally steals the dude’s food. He’s pretty friendly and nice because he even takes the food back when Riko offers, even though, ew she’s eaten like half of it. (I’m guessing he’s who Riko will end up with at the end, but we’ll see!)
After Aki has an encounter with a customer who needs assistance, she feels determined that they need to have display cards to give more information about their books. She suggests this again at the staff meeting, and again everyone looks scandalized. LOL
But the head manager agrees. And then he hastily makes his escape from the room. He might be my secret favorite character.
Later, Aki meets with Obata in front of her apartment so he can give her some papers. He not-so-subtly tries to get her to invite him up to her place, but she doesn’t fall for it. The best part was when he claimed he really needed a toilet.
But Aki told him about the bathroom in the lobby so he was immediately like “I’m cured!!” After that, he asks why she chose to work in a bookstore. I didn’t quite understand her answer about friendship, but I don’t think Obata did either.
The new display cards seem to work out well, but it doesn’t last long. When she returns to work the next day, they’ve all been removed. Riko admits she had to do it.
Riko did it because a customer complained. I wasn’t quite sure whether the book was mislabeled or what, but either way, Aki was sad and disappointed.
The next staff meeting includes some guys from higher up in the company. Everything is normal until… you guessed it… Aki raises her hand!
They just looked so offended. Hahaha! Anyway, Aki’s new suggestion is to get Ally, a transgendered television talent, to do an event at the store to promote her first book. The corporate guys love it but everyone else is less than amused.
Things fall into place and the event is scheduled. The employees still aren’t thrilled, especially after Aki requests a shift change for the event set-up and then she can’t make it because she’s stuck in the Fukuoka airport.
Aki makes it back early the next morning for the event. Ally shows up but she’s a total diva and refuses to do it for some reason. (I seriously didn’t understand why because it was hard to understand the angry shouting.)
Just as Aki is about to give up, Riko takes her for one more chance. She shows Ally the display which includes pictures Aki took in Ally’s hometown of Fukuoka. After a passionate speech from Aki, Ally finally agrees. And things go great! Aki even gets an autograph afterwards, and she and Riko seem to have reached an understanding.
But then, just when things seem to be going well, Riko’s dinner with Boyfriend turns into a disaster. Instead of the marriage proposal she was expecting, he broke up with her. For a younger woman, it seems. Riko runs after his taxi and sees Aki inside with him!
Things at work are about to get super awkward!
All in all, I thought this was quite a good first episode. It introduced both the main characters in a way so that we can see their personalities. And the plot wasn’t very boring either. I love the running gag of Aki raising her hand at staff meetings followed by everyone looking horrified. (It’s like that one person in class who always has to ask a question 30 seconds before class is over.) The camera directing choices are also really nice, especially the use of the split screen. That makes the visuals more interesting. And several camera angles were good too like, for example, the straight on shots of Riko and Boyfriend’s faces in the breakup scene. And the lone cup left behind when (ex)Boyfriend leaves.
Lastly, I’m in love with the music on this show. Really excellent violins and such. I’m gonna have to look up this soundtrack later.
Questions to consider:
- Who will end up with who at the end of the series? Get your early predictions in now! I’m gonna go with Riko/dude from the bar and Aki/Mita. But maybe I’ll be surprised?
- How do we feel about age differences in couples? Because I feel like this might be something to think about.
- How does a 23 year old afford such a big apartment? Please tell me your secret Aki.
- When the corporate guys visit the staff meeting, one asks Aki how’s her father and she answers with “probably fine.” Any thoughts on that?
- Suddenly flying to another city for work and telling no one: good idea or bad idea?
- Have you ever pretended you needed the toilet to get into a girl’s apartment and did it work? Be honest.
So what did you think of the first episode? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments! I’ll be back with another recap/review next week. Until then, go read a book! 🙂