Kurosawa Kokoro suffers from an injury that renders her unable to take part in the Judo Olympics. She finds a job as an editor for Weekly Vibes, a manga magazine aimed at young men. The story then follows Kokoro and senior editor Iokibe Kei as they venture together in the manga publishing world.
Omg Juhan Shuttai, where do I start. I was so upset that it finished with ten episodes, though it was to be expected of J-dramas but I still wanted more. It’s because of dramas like Juhan Shuttai that I would choose a Jdrama over a Kdrama anyday (no offense Kdrama fans). Plot-wise, there isn’t exactly a plot since it’s very character-driven, which is the drama’s main strength. The characters are quirky and lively, but not only that they’re also well-developed and by the end you can’t help but love all of them! Not to mention it’s a drama about mangas and being a manga fan myself, it was especially especially interesting to see how the manga industry works. I was so drawn into the world of mangas and now I have a whole new appreciation of mangas.
It’s quite hard to choose a favourite though since I do love all of them. But I think the character that sort of stood out is the newbie mangaka Nakata Haru. I love his character development and his backstory, which is kind of dark but it really explains why he is the way he is and how it influences his work. I thought it really sheds light into the manga world, especially the darker parts of it. But I was quite disappointed that Nagayama Kento didn’t flesh out the character well enough. I thought his acting was pretty stagnant and robotic, and some parts were quite overacted. Especially when he was being rude towards Mikurayama sensei’s wife. I just wasn’t as drawn towards his character.
LOL at this scene when Iokibe was just chilling amidst the chaos
Of course there’s the main character Kurosawa Kokoro (whom they call fondly as bear cub) who is bright, cheerful and positive. Surprisingly Kurosawa didn’t come off as too over-the-top and annoying but she was lovable and really made an impact on me. I like how the drama seems to gloss over the characters’ tragic pasts without dwelling on it too long so it becomes melodramatic. Kurosawa had to withdraw from the Judo Olympic Team but we don’t see her crying or wallowing in self-pity over it. Instead she’s all optimistic and even went for countless job interviews before finally landing a job at Weekly Vibes. I found her so admirable. I don’t think many would be able to return from so big a setback, especially with this much positivism and energy. Watching her every episode was really inspiring.
Then there’s Iokibe!! I even dedicated a post prior to this one just for him. He was the most chill character throughout the entire drama and also one of the main. Though he didn’t get as much screen time as I expected. Everytime he came on screen I just can’t help but smile. Especially when he smiles…my heart…can’t…take…it. His character didn’t especially stand out amidst all the other quirky characters which brought a good comedic balance to the drama. But he’s really charismatic (at least to me) on screen which just draws me towards him. Though towards the end they developed his character a little and even dedicated an entire episode to him, I just didn’t feel like they’ve developed him enough. Unlike with the other side characters, we don’t really know much about Iokibe other than the fact that he was divorced and his wife ran away (how could anyone run away from such perfection). And that he’s an all-round good guy with a hot man bun and a smile that makes your heart die (he’s basically perfect). Yeah I was kind of disappointed with that.
One good thing is the drama doesn’t try to force any romance between Iokibe and Kokoro, which I’m glad for. They don’t really have the chemistry for romance anyway. I really ship Koizumi and Kokoro though! They’ll make such a cute couple!!
Another character I think needs special mention is Yasui-san. He’s a pretty interesting character and probably the most well-developed one in the drama. I love how his character showed the cut-throat reality of the publishing industry where it’s not all just selling dreams and happiness. He may come off as annoying, evil and manipulative but his great love for the magazine and manga is undeniable. I love how they introduced his family early on in the drama so you sort of know his background. And also the end of his episode when Wada-san thanked him for his efforts. It really sheds some light into the reality of any industry actually, that while talent and taking risks are important, ultimately it’s the sales that ensures its survival.
All the characters are so awesome though. Like Mibu, Wada, Koizumi, Oka, Takahata etc. They’re all so quirky yet lovable in their own way. Especially that bromance between Wada and Oka. So cute! HAHA
Overall this is a show that will stick with me for a long time. Not only has it brought me into the world of the manga industry, it has also sparked my interest in the publishing industry as a whole (just as Ghostwriter has). Of course I know reality isn’t the same as dramas but still, I’m really interested to work with books and working with authors and their books. For manga fans, Juhan Shuttai is definitely a drama you will love. And for those non-manga fans or even non-Jdrama fans, just give this a go. You won’t regret it.