Tatakau! Shoten Girl Episode 1 Recap/Review: Raise Your Hand!

tatakau 1 dramatic height difference

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!

"My rent is so high that my diet consists of instant noodles and dreams"

“My rent is so high that my diet only consists of instant noodles and dreams”

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)

"I'd like to know where the bathroom is."

“I’d like to know where the bathroom is.”

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.

"You look like you could be in a famous idol group or something"

“You look like you could be in a famous idol group or something”

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.

"Of course I'm not listening to your conversation" *leans closer*

“Of course I’m not listening to your conversation”
*leans closer*

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!)

"I'm so good at eavesdropping because I'm apparently actually invisible?"

“I’m so good at eavesdropping because I’m apparently actually invisible?”

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

"Suggesting things again? For realz?"

“Suggesting things again? For realz?”

But the head manager agrees. And then he hastily makes his escape from the room. He might be my secret favorite character.

"OkaygottagoBYEEEEE"

“OkaygottagoBYEEEEE”

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.

"Wow sudden appendicitis! I may need to lie down on your couch for a while. Or all night. Please don't call an ambulance."

“Wow sudden appendicitis! I may need to lie down on your couch for a while. Or all night. Please don’t call an ambulance.”

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.

"Yes I did it," she says while Poster Sword Guy stares at you ominously

“Yes I did it,” she says while Poster Sword Guy stares at you ominously

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!

"Are you serious right now??"

“Are you freaking serious right now??”

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.

"This kid has SPUNK"

“This kid has SPUNK”

"I hear her soul is so unclean, pure water can melt her" "Aren't you just quoting songs from Wicked?" "....yes, yes I am."

“I hear her soul is so unclean, pure water can melt her”
“Aren’t you just quoting songs from Wicked?”
“….yes, yes I am.”

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.

"YOU MUST BE KIDDING"

“YOU MUST BE KIDDING”

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.)

"Diva was my major in college"

“Diva was my major in college”

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!

"You're going to pay the cab fare right? Because all my money goes to my apartment rent"

“You’re going to pay the cab fare right? Because all my money goes to my apartment rent”

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.

Visual metaphor, y'all

Visual metaphor, y’all

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:

  1. 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?
  2. How do we feel about age differences in couples? Because I feel like this might be something to think about.
  3. How does a 23 year old afford such a big apartment? Please tell me your secret Aki.
  4. 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?
  5. Suddenly flying to another city for work and telling no one: good idea or bad idea?
  6. 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! 🙂

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10 thoughts on “Tatakau! Shoten Girl Episode 1 Recap/Review: Raise Your Hand!

  1. Hi! Just wanted to say that if you understand the dialogue you would know that Aki comes from money, she’s called 3rd-generation and her grandfather owns like a huge company

    • Hi! Thank you for explaining about Aki’s money situation. I don’t always understand 100% of the dialogue, especially when I’m just getting used to how everyone speaks. I guessed that she probably had family money but I didn’t know for sure. Thanks for reading and leaving a comment 🙂

    • Hi! Thanks for reading my recap and leaving a comment! ^_^
      Yes, Mayuyu is very enthusiastic about the books and that’s super cute. I hope you get a chance to watch the show some day!

  2. Thank you for making this recap! I also cannot catch every single thing, so this helps! Please continue making one for each episode that comes out!

    • Hi! Thanks for reading and commenting! I’ll do my best to make each one as accurate as possible (but there still may be a few mistakes, sorry!) I’m glad you enjoyed it! 🙂

  3. I missed your recaps so much omg.

    I watched the first episode last week and had to lie down due to Severe Cringe-itis (from secondhand embarrassment for Aki, not a jibe at the show) but since I can’t study without procrastinating I started watching episode 2.

    BUT FIRST, YOUR RECAP.

    I hope this isn’t weird, commenting on a recap you made months ago. >_>

    (I still haven’t finished that last episode of Suikyuu) (hold me pls)

    “my rent is so high my diet only consists of instant noodles and dreams” is probably my favourite caption ever. that, or the wicked reference. LET’S GO WATCH WICKED. >.< AND YES HOW GOOD ARE THE SPLIT SCREENS AND MUSIC. I'm using subtitles (because even though I'm supposed to be going to Japan in a few months, im still not that confident) – Ally didn't realise she'd have to shake hands, and she didn't want to do it, citing that most of the people probably didn't read the book anyway, and the bookstore was only doing this so they could meet their quota.

    Restaurant guy is super cute, as is Riko omg.

    1. Is Mita Chiba Yudai's character? (I never remember any of Chiba's character names because I keep getting distracted by those cheeks) IF SO I agree with your predictions.
    2. /rolls around/ i don't tend to ship couples with a big age difference and im gonna leave it at that 😛
    3. YES TELL US YOUR SECRET AKI although at this point i'd be pretty content with just a kitchen. /sobs about the lack of direction in my life over a tub of ice cream
    4. Her dad doesn't like the idea of her working in the bookstore even though it runs in the family but Aki is serious about her Love Of Books and moved out. To that ridiculous apartment where she is happy and content without her nagging dad telling her to go meet a nice someone and have kids. /end prediction that is probably wrong
    5. WHY DON'T YOU JUST COMMUNICATE *throws up hands* actually im not sure what to think about Riko also not communicating with Aki in the end there, not really showing how much riko understood about the situation beyond one glimpse at aki sleeping in a room. but hey that could be effective use of cinematography i guess.
    6. facepalms at obata. he does provide comic relief though.

    • I’ve missed your comments!! You’re always welcome to comment anytime anywhere ^_^

      I feel you on the cringe-y…ness (that is totally not a word)

      (omg go watch the last episode of suiyan pls. Not as good as episode 8 but still worth it!)

      Always a good excuse to use a Wicked quote! I feel like you are probably the only one who understood the joke. lol
      I wish they had stuck with the split screens because SO FUN but they sadly don’t. (does that count as a spoiler? oops) BUT THE MUSIC CONTINUES TO BE WONDERFUL THE WHOLE TIME. I don’t blame you for using subtitles. Tbh, I had trouble following some bits later in the story. Idk if that was just my lack of corporate jargon Japanese or the fact that I was watching very crappy streams that I couldn’t hear very well. Thank you for clearing up the stuff with Ally! (Feel free to point out errors or clarify things if you continue reading my recaps! Please and thank you)

      1.) Yes Mita is Chiba Yudai! ^_^
      2.) SAME (…I’m not going to admit to who I actually ship in this series because /side-eyes self very hard)
      3.) ALSO SAME /grabs a spoon to share the ice cream
      4.) I like your theory! 😀
      5.) Communication is important! Maybe they just ran out of time and was like “eh, let’s just pan the camera here for a second and then call it a day!” haha
      6.) I’ll give Obata the award for Most Desperate Attempt. lol poor guy

  4. Hi, I’m watching this drama now and I have been to Kichijoji couple of times and would like to know the locations for the restaurant that Riko and her friend always dines at (seems to be serving Okinawa cuisine) and the book cafe that Aki and Mita frequents. Just wondering if you might know?

    • Hi! I’m sorry but I actually don’t know where the restaurant and bookstore are located. I don’t remember what the name of the restaurant was at all. I wish I was able to help. Sorry!

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