Ashita, Mama ga Inai: Ep 1

TWO NAMES: ASHIDA MANA & SUZUKI RIO.
ENOUGH SAID!!!!!!!

Obviously Ashita, Mama ga Inai was one of my most anticipated winter jdramas because of the awesome casting of Suzuki Rio, whom I totally loved in Woman, and Ashida Mana, who was excellent in Mother.  (Both dramas were AMAZING by the way!)  So of course I couldn’t pass up the chance to see the two of them collaborating together in Ashita, BWAHAHAHA!

Ashita Mama ga Inai tells the story of a children’s home where abandoned/orphaned children live.  We’re introduced to the story through the character Maki (Suzuki Rio), a young girl who is placed in the children’s home after her mother is arrested for assault (on her boyfriend).  Maki finds herself surrounded by children who have been orphaned/abandoned and who seem to have little connection to their biological parents.  Despite this turn of events, Maki continues to believe that she will not be permanently separated from her mother & that she is different from the rest of the kids at the children’s home.  Well of course that’s not the way things are gonna go.  >_<  Maki’s mother abandons her for good and Maki must face up to the reality that she is now just like the rest of the children in the children’s home.  Another girl, Post (Ashida Mana), takes Maki under her wing and helps her adjust to life without her mother.

So, it sounds like there is a lot of potential for a really serious realistic story right!?!?  Well, don’t go into Ashita expecting a super realistic story because as far as I can tell, it’s not meant to be realistic.  There are a lot of serious, moving scenes & it touches on many topics of identity/self/parenthood/etc., but there are also a lot of unrealistic parts.  I’m not sure how to describe it, but you know those children’s stories where the kid characters are in an orphanage or boarding house or something, and they have a really villainous teacher/caretaker/stepmother etc.?  It’s kinda like that.  There are a lot of elements of the story that feel like something straight out of a children’s story.  The caretaker (<is that what he’d be called? O_O) of the children’s home is totally on the children’s-story-villain level…I mean, he walks around limping with a cane, goes around calling the kids pets, etc. etc. I don’t think this is even supposed to be a criticism of the system, it just feels like he’s meant to be a really overexaggerated villain figure in the story.  Another unrealistic part would be when Ashida Mana’s character (Post) potential-adopted-mom turns out to be a crazy woman who is obsessed with turning Post into a living doll.  UM……..yeah.  So pretty much all of the adults in Ashita are portrayed as heartless people.  I’m not saying the drama shouldn’t show some of the adult characters in a negative light, it’s just that most of them are shown in such an overexaggerated way that they don’t feel real.

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BUT DON’T LEAVE BECAUSE ASHITA IS TOTALLY WORTH WATCHING.  OMGAWD.  Back when I was watching Woman, I made the totally naive statement that I preferred Suzuki Rio over Ashida Mana.  WELL EVERYONE MY EYES HAVE BEEN OPENED!!!!!!!!!  ASHIDA MANA, IS THIS THE LITTLE GIRL I SAW IN MOTHER?!?! OMG!!!  HER ACTING PUTS ACTORS WHO ARE TWICE HER AGE TO SHAME!

I cannot believe how much Ashida Mana’s acting has improved & how much she has matured.  I love the way Ashida Mana is portraying her character and she totally nailed all of her scenes.  Her character, Post, is a little spitfire and totally a hoot to watch.  Post is a girl who was abandoned at birth (left in a mailbox, hence the name Post) and has never known what it’s like to have a mother or father.  (Judging by the title it seems like the main focus will be on the mother and not the father O_O) She’s very independent, has a bit of a rebellious streak, and takes on the role of the leader of the children’s home.  It seems like she can take on the whole world in stride but in fact she herself is unhappy & wonders whether having parents really make her life better.  I’m mainly looking forward to seeing how Post will be influenced by Maki’s character and whether she will ever be able to trust a potential-adopted-parent enough to show them her real self.

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In contrast, Suzuki Rio’s character Maki is a darling but she cannot outdo Ashida Mana’s Post.  >__<  Of course Ashida Mina is a more experienced actress than Suzuki Rio is so I guess it’s to be expected.  However I also feel like Maki’s character is portrayed as a super naive and idealistic young girl when there could actually be more to her than meets the eye.  She seems to have a very deep and loyal love for her mother, even after she sees her mom assaulting her boyfriend & hearing her mom’s ranting about how her boyfriend can’t live without her, etc. etc.  In ep1 it kinda implies that Maki is aware of her mom’s dark & obsessive side, but it’s unclear as to whether she knew about it before she saw the assault or if she only found out about it after the fact.  I’d like to think that Maki knew about her mom’s dark side beforehand though..I mean considering how obsessive and dependent her mom was, there were probably other instances where she showed warning signs.  O_O  Also even though Maki is portrayed as too trusting & naive, I think there is more to her unconditional love to her mom than that.  It seems like her way of coping is to only think of the positive side of things; she focuses on the good characteristics of her mom while blocking out all of the bad things.  And of course, she only uses this coping mechanism even more after her mom blatantly abandons her to cope with the fact.

I’m not quite sure how Maki’s story will go from here.  Will a previously naive and innocent girl become more cynical towards adults & the world?  Or will she balance a new sense of realism along with her more idealistic views?  It seems like she has more of a positive personality than say, Post, so it may be interesting to see how she approaches her situation in comparison to the other children.

Overall

“The little girl who lost love. I wasn’t abandoned by Mother, it was I who abandoned her.”  -Credit: Dramawiki

Well I may have sounded like I have a lot of criticisms for Ashita, but I just want to make it clear that I am really enjoying the drama so far.  The acting is amazing & there are plenty of touching moments.  Ashita isn’t a tearjerker but it is definitely aiming to make us feel a pang in our hearts. >__<  I guess the thing that makes me feel unsatisfied is that thought in the back of my mind..”Just think of how much better it could’ve been…if only..”.  I feel like Ashita has so much potential, so many themes to explore and yet something is holding it back.  It could’ve been even better if only it had gone beyond the overexaggerated scenes/characters.  Anyways I’m really hoping that the rest of the drama will be a solid watch!!  Ashida Mina for the win!

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18 thoughts on “Ashita, Mama ga Inai: Ep 1

  1. I also don’t think it’s very realistic, the way the kids act and talk are like adults and the orphanage owner is just….(I don’t get him). It’s a bit exaggerated but the dramatic feels really fits the atmosphere of the whole show.

    Ashida Mana’s acting is SO awesome, I can’t believe it’s the same girl in Mother where she seems so childlike in that drama but here, I thought it’s a real adult actress that’s acting. She really puts all those bad actress to shame!

    In contrast, Suzuki Rio’s acting is still at the level of a good child actress, she can’t beat Ashida Mana. But it may also be because of her character, not much acting skills can be shown through that kind of predictable good character.

    • I think the drama was trying to get across that the kids are more mature since they grew up on their own. But yeah, I can see how a lot of the articulate dialogue is not what I’d expect from a 9-10 yr old. Post’s lines got me right in the heart though so..heheh..>_>

      I also think Suzuki Rio is a good actress, but she has not had as much experience as Ashida has & like you said, her character is more limited.

  2. i told you ashida mana is a great actress! thats why shes called ashida pro or ashida sensei in 2ch boards. :P
    glad your watching this and yes both of them in 1 show is great!

  3. Reblogged this on sulovesdrama and commented:
    To add to her commentary: it’s good. Not the Sakamoto Yuji style fare I was expecting, it feels more Dickens’ Oliver Twist meets Roald Dahl. I mean that nicely.

  4. I watched episode 1 too, am definitely watching episode 2 as well. For me, it’s fine if the adults are a bit comical/exaggerated — the stars of the show are the children, anyway.

    Also Igarashi Hinata as the little boy is adorable. I don’t know if you’ve watched Tonbi or Starman, but he tends to fill the cute little boy role when in dramas.

    • Yeah it is clear that the kids are stealing the show! I feel like I’ve seen Igarashi Hinata in another jdrama before…not sure though because I feel like there are a lot of cute little kid actors. >__<

  5. I am happy we are watching this together again! When I was posting my thoughts on AAA, I was kind of fighting of sleep thanks to lovely cold medication…and whatever else. So, I wasn’t quite certain of just how clear I was. But I do agree with your opinion. I kind of chucked serious and realistic out the window with the opening sequence. You kind of get that darker Dickens vibe, but it does have that exaggerated fairytale vibe.

    As a product of an early divorce and raised by neither parent, I can really relate to this drama and the children, who, OMG are like the most awesome child actors EVER! Ashida Mana…<3! The absurdity, with the breakdown and serious moments are pretty much well-balanced. Although, when I did see the mommy wanting to turn Post into a doll…I was like WTF just happened?

    Still need to watch episode 2. Can't wait to hear more of your thoughts on this drama.

    • Again I am glad to hear your opinions on Ashita since you can relate to its themes. It’s really a shame that the drama is getting so much censure about its lack of realism/’sensitivity’. I think you are right about the ‘Dickens’ vibe. It also brought to mind the jdrama Shokojo Seira?? (Also based on children’s book A Little Princess so that might be why…)

      You’re not the only one who was taken aback by the whole turning-Post-into-doll part. T_T There is another kinda crazy part in ep2 but less crazy than that. Interesting enough the potential adopted moms are portrayed in a crazy light while the potential adopted dads are all innocent.

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