Good Luck

updated 27 June 2016

Episode Guide - SPOILERS

Characters | Episode 1 | Episode 2 | Episode 3 | Episode 4 | Episode 5 |

Episode 6 | Episode 7 | Episode 8 | Episode 9 | Episode 10: Final Flight :'(

Miscellaneous Information | Links to sites about Good Luck | Bad Actor Award | Music of Good Luck |

Queries about use of pronouns!!! | Comments from kind Good Luck fans | FAQ) PLEASE read)

Brief Synopsis

Having achieved his life-long dream of being a pilot, Shinkai Hajime 新海元 (Takuya Kimura 木村拓哉) is first officer on an international jetliner and is now working to become a captain. Unfortunately for him, he appears to have got on the bad side of Captain Koda Kazuki 香田一樹 (Tsutsumi Shinichi, 堤真一) who has become a harsh taskmaster since a tragic air incident 12 years earlier.

To further complicate matters, despite the fact that he always seems to be arguing with her, he finds himself attracted to the scowling, straight-talking, somewhat obnoxious mechanic Ogawa Ayumi (Shibasaki Kou 柴崎幸), whose parents died many years ago in the plane crash for which Captain Koda feels he is responsible.

Follow the adventures of the ground and air crew and capture a glimpse into a life above the clouds.

Blurb from Koala

I never have enough words to express how much I adore this series. Years later and it's still one of the most enjoyable television series I have ever watched.

The show provides a fascinating insight into life behind the scenes of aircraft crew – pilots, flight attendants and the mechanics. I initially watched the Japanese version with Taiwanese subtitles and was then extremely happy to discover a JTV fan sub done by dedicated fans which contained English subtitles.

The English subtitled version contained extremely helpful explanations of flight terms and instruments as well as explanation of references to Japanese food and television programmes. I did note a number of differences between the English and Chinese versions, but overall I felt comfortable that I had a full understanding of what was taking place.

The series is comprised of 10 episodes and I was very sad when I came to the last episode - I felt like I was saying goodbye to a group of good friends. Unlike many dramas, I actually liked something about each and every one of the secondary characters. This is extremely rare because I will normally only like a few of the characters and find the others too annoying. This is truly an ensemble piece of acting and the storylines between secondary characters are as interesting as those concerning Kimura's central character.

Note: I have provided a very detailed episode summary and review and spoilers lie ahead. Also where I am “quoting” from the script, I am using a combination of the script based on the Chinese and the English subtitles. It is quite possible my interpretation deviates drastically from the original Japanese version – I have no way of verifying this unfortunately. As mentioned, any input from a Japanese speaker would be welcome.

Overall Comments

Kimura tends to release a drama each year and naturally each one is compared to the others. I appear to be in the minority for liking Good Luck the most (followed by the lovely Long Vacation).

Good Luck isn't particularly dramatic and it's very much an ensemble piece. While the Shinkai's character is the central character, other characters also have their own significant storylines and back stories. This is consistent with what Shinkai himself says about being a pilot. He tells Ogawa that he became a pilot not because of the salary, pride or pretty flight attendants – he became a pilot because he thought it was a cool job and he wanted to work as a member of a team. I love the idea of all of them solving problems together and love the way that they actually do solve the problems together.

When I was small, I liked Trixie Belden mystery stories more than Nancy Drew. Nancy Drew was so together and always solved the mysteries by herself and the story was always about her, whereas Trixie Belden had a group of friends and they would solve it together and face danger together. They used co-operation and group effort to solve the mysteries.

The love story in Good Luck is not front and centre but it's important and it is between two equal people. Both Ogawa and Shinkai are well-suited. They have strong personalities, they are intelligent and they are caring. Unlike many dramas that rely on melodrama - crying, yelling / pain / misunderstanding etc, the feelings demonstrated in Good Luck were more genuine and manifested themselves through actions and expression rather than words. In many dramas, characters spend a lot of time talking about how they feel, whereas in Good Luck they actually demonstrate how they felt eg:

Some people have criticised the actress who plays Ogawa, claiming that her face has no expression and it appears that she can't seem to act. For me, I think Shibasaki Kou is a good actress because she plays her character just as she is supposed to play her. Cold and reserved, she finds it very difficult to express her emotions. Ogawa doesn't trust people. She doesn't want to show emotion or let people know that she is vulnerable - but Shinkai is the one person who is able to make her express her emotions even though she always makes a fierce attempt to rein herself in.

For instance, during their first time in the sushi bar when he is being very philosophical about some silly Japanese cartoon - eg which of the characters were edible – did the mother who is a boat (inedible) ever feel like an outcast? He makes Ogawa laugh and when he notices with delight that she is laughing, she immediately stops laughing and scowls at him. Frequently when he is speaking to her with his customary open-hearted candour, she is listening to him very deeply but when he turns around, she always glares at him and pretends she doesn't care. I love this about her. As an actress, it's easy to cry and scream and be melodramatic, but I think that it is much harder to put in such a subtle and nuanced performance. Also, for me - an antagonistic love/hate relationship between the leads is much more flirty, fun and sexy than an eye-rolling melodrama.

I could really believe that Shinkai and Ogawa liked each other and over time were coming to trust one another implicitly. That there was a connection right away that deepened and developed over time. It was nice to see the way they always turned to one other when each had a problem.

There's a totally amazing post called Analysis: Relationship (Shinkai Hajime x Ogawa Ayumi) on livejournal that discusses the pairing in beautiful detail. I can't recommend it enough. For my part, all I can do is offer up some cute graphics documenting their journey..

Another write up of this fabulous show here.