Oki Yasuko is a high school girl with a brother named Kenji who she used to admire, but she now has a rocky relationship with him. Kenji used to be the leader of a biker gang, however ever since their parents died ten years ago, he’s been supporting his sister by himself by drawing a popular shoujo manga under a female pen-name. Kenji is quite concerned about Yasuko’s schoolwork, so he decides to create a study schedule for her to follow and goes as far as to impose a 4PM curfew. Yasuko, however, wants to do the normal things a 17-year-old girl does, and when new transfer student Tsubaki Jun happens to arrive at her school, she finds herself falling in love with him. Jun gets to know Yasuko after she dropped a handkerchief with her name on it and he returned it to her. His older sister Erika has recently opened up a flower shop, and she eventually reveals to Yasuko that she really came back to this town to see her first love again. What Yasuko doesn’t know is that Erika also used to lead a biker gang, and her first love was Kenji.
One day, Yasuko has to stay behind after school to do a huge pile of work, and Jun ends up helping her. Yasuko decides to break her curfew afterwards so that she can thank Jun by treating him to a snack at a cafe. She’s quite happy when they hang out all afternoon, but she realizes afterwards how late it is and sees the dozens of missed calls from her brother on her cell phone. By now, Kenji is already looking for her, and though he finds her at a shopping center, she runs away with Jun in tow. Yasuko trips in the process and goes to Jun’s house to get a scrape patched up, but she declines to stay for dinner and Jun walks her home. The two trade cell phone numbers, however Kenji then finds them again and this time Yasuko doesn’t run. Kenji quickly turns his anger towards Jun, and to his surprise, Jun apologizes and takes responsibility for keeping Yasuko out. Kenji thus doesn’t do anything to Jun and just drags Yasuko home instead.
Kenji’s punishment for Yasuko for breaking her curfew is the confiscation of her cell phone, but she refuses to give it up. The two then get into a huge argument where Yasuko tries to assert that she’s not a little kid anymore and points out how Kenji had gotten to do what he wanted by joining the bike gang. She also blames him for not being there when their parents died and goes as far as to say that being an only child would have been better. Kenji is furious, but he can’t slap her and doesn’t chase her when she runs out. He tries to get his mind off of this by working on his manga, but all he can think about is how, ten years ago, he had found their parents’ bodies at the hospital beside a crying Yasuko. At the funeral, he had vowed to his relatives that he’d quit his biker gang and work so that he and Yasuko could live together. Kenji also recalls how, back when she was in grade school, Yasuko had written about him and how she loved him for school visitation day.
Yasuko meanwhile calls Jun and meets with him at the park so that she can have someone to talk to about her troubles. Jun thinks that everything Kenji does shows that he loves Yasuko, and Jun urges Yasuko to go home. Yasuko refuses, but before anything else can happen, the two are found and kidnapped by a group of hoodlums. The hoodlums take the pair to a warehouse and beat Jun up before turning their sights on Yasuko. In this situation, Yasuko’s thoughts return to her brother, and she regrets what she had said to him, especially after she remembers all the times he had protected her in the past. She thus calls out for him, and at that very moment, he bursts into the warehouse on his motorcycle with his biker gang outfit on. As he beats up the hoodlums, Kenji tells Yasuko that no matter how much she hates him, he’ll always protect her. After all the hoodlums are down, Yasuko apologizes and is ready to return home.
On his way out, Kenji tells the battered Jun not to get close to Yasuko if he can’t protect her. However, Kenji then gets kicked in the back by a lady in red – Erika – who thinks that Kenji did something to her little brother. Erika at first panics when she realizes that the person she kicked is Kenji, however his subsequent insults toward her ignite a fire within her that cause her to respond similarly. Because of all this, Yasuko finally realizes that the person Erika liked is none other than Kenji.
I mentioned earlier this week that this was one of the shows I was looking forward to, and much to my delight, it’s as good as I hoped it’d be. I think that’s due as much to the acting as it is to the story. TOKIO drummer Matsuoka Masahiro does a wonderful job portraying Kenji in that over-the-top yakuza sort of way that makes him hilarious to watch. Hirosue Ryoko isn’t quite that good in Erika’s role, but seeing her brings back fond memories of the last drama I watched her in (Summer Snow from eight years ago). I had my biggest initial reservations about Tabe Mikako as Yasuko because of how I didn’t like her too much in Yamada Taro Monogatari (in fact her inner monologues here remind me a lot of the ones from there), but even she didn’t do too badly here.
The story has a great mix of the comedic juxtaposition of tough gang leader with shoujo mangaka in Kenji, and the romance/family stories that Japanese dramas pull off so well. For example, despite how corny some of the stuff Kenji said to Yasuko towards the end was, I still found it rather touching, and I’m thus far enjoying the family aspect of the plot. There’s also how Erika being both a rival gang leader and in love with Kenji adds another dimension to the story that makes me want to see more. I think my only complaint is that parts of the story were somewhat predictable and convenient (Yasuko being kidnapped, Kenji coming to save her), but I say that about a lot of dramas, and it’s not that big a deal because I still like what I see.
I’m going to continue watching this, but dramas take a lot of time to write up (at least compared to anime episodes), and I’m still trying to figure out my schedule for the summer, so I can’t commit to blogging it yet. I’d definitely recommend checking out the first episode though, and I hear that it will be subbed.