21 January 2006 | cchie
Not because of luck
One thing that is left after the credit title of "Good Luck" fades is that a great popular entertainment does not depend on the popularity of the stars. A 'feel good' series, despite the fact that it starred some of the most popular names in J-dramas, "Good Luck" demonstrates a great ensemble of all elements of 'good movie' working in harmony.
Takuya Kimura iconic as he is in the landscape of J-entertainment- is a genuinely talented actor oozing with potentials. Although Hajime Shinkai his character is not what you would call a 'multi-layered' character, his portrayal of this highly spirited aspiring young co-pilot is genuine and credible. Kimura was able to avoid the pitfall of portraying this straightforward character as a comical, two dimensional character, instead, Shinkai is presented to the audience as a genuine, credible and quite honestly, lovable person.
Kimura's co-star veteran stage actor Shinichi Tsutsumi (One Missed Call, Drive) only adds more credits to this series. Tsutsumi's character Captain Kazuki Koda a too serious senior pilot and eventually Shinkai's mentor is a more complex character. There are more layers to Koda's character than Shinkai's character and as Kimura was able to add more depth to his two-dimensional character, Tsutsumi was able to portray perfectly all of Koda's multi-layered character. I would say that if Kimura was excellent in his role, Tsutsumi almost stealing the show was outstanding. He communicated Koda's grief, fear and shame through his eyes and facial expression just enough, not exaggerated but very effective. I would say pay attention to Tsutsumi's facial expression while he was talking to Shinkai in the last cockpit scene of the final flight.
The pairing of Kimura and Kou Shibasaki as Ayumi is quite striking. At first I thought that the two does not have enough chemistry on screen, especially because being familiar with Shibasaki's cult movies record (Battle Royale, Kakashi, One Missed Call) I ridiculously thought that she was 'too mean' looking for Kimura. It turns out that she was perfect as Ayumi, a girl character that is refreshingly not the so-typical 'submissive office lady' type of J-doramas. Although I still think that she has more on-screen chemistry with Tsutsumi, probably because both have worked together previously.
Hitomi Kuroki is casted as senior Cabin Attendant Noriko Togashi, Koda's ex girlfriend. While her character is not really prominent, Kuroki is also fun to watch, at first I did not really recognize her as Yoshimi Matsubara, the distressed mother from Dark Water.
"Good Luck" might be supported by great names of J-movies, but its success as the best dorama in 2003 is not because of its stars, but because the stars were really able to show their star quality in working together to make this an effective, fun, interesting, worth-watching after hour fun.