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Thursday, July 14, 2016

Juken no Cinderella Episode 1 First Impression

Juken no Cinderella First Impression by Ninja
Japanese Drama: Juken no Cinderella (受験のシンデレラ)
Episodes: 8
Airs: Sundays

The star lecture of a successful tutoring school, Tooru Igarashi has climbed to the pinnacle of his career but can't seem to see the point of it all. Passing his nights by drinking himself to a stupor, Tooru has several run-ins with our heroine Maki Endo.
With a dream of saving enough money to leave her verbally abusive mother, our spunky heroine humbles herself enough to ask Tooru to help her pass her high school test so she wouldn't be kicked out. 

Thanks to Tooru's creative way of teaching and her own hard work, Maki was able to successfully pass her test. Excited to share her happy news with her best friend, Maki's joy turns to hopelessness when her best friend being is hauled away by the police right in front of her eyes. 
Overwhelmed by the despairing thought that those who struggles at the bottom of the society will always remain there no matter how hard they try, Maki tells a drunken Tooru that she is going to give up her dream of going to a good university. 

Fired up by Maki's demoralizing attitude, Tooru challenges Maki to accept an once in a lifetime opportunity from him and allow him to help her pass the University of Tokyo's (Japanese's best university) entrance exam.

Ninja's First Impression
I found the first episode to be very engaging and fast paced. The set up of a downtrodden heroine needing the hero's help to reach her dream is perhaps a bit predicable but it was still quite interesting. 

I haven't read the novel (Juken no Shinderera) this drama is based on but judging by the first episode I am guessing this one falls more into the motivational genre than the romantic one. The hero is 38 while the heroine is only 18 so I am assuming Tooru will be more like a mentor/father figure to Maki than a romantic interest. 
I am a bit torn about putting this one on my watch list since there was a disturbing hint in the first episode that Tooru might have some terminal illness. As one who always avoid anything that has terminal illness written in the synopsis, I would usually have crossed this one off my list right away but I am strangely pulled by my desire to see our heroine's path to success. Moreover, I guess if our hero is destined to die anyway, it will be also be propelling to see how helping Maki will make Tooru's last days meaningful. 

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