Good Luck

updated 27 August 2005

Episode Guide - SPOILERS

Request for help: Corrections welcome - particularly from Japanese speakers! I have highlighted differences in the English and Chinese subtitles and would love clarification from any Japanese speakers. Please email. Also, I put these pages together in a bit of a rush so am still amending and proofing for typos! Gomen nasai!

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!!! | Good Luck Polls | Comments from kind Good Luck fans (updated) | FAQ (updated) 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

Words can't express how much I love this series. I think it is one of the most enjoyable television series I have ever watched. I am so grateful I was urged to watch it. I had watched a show called Golden Bowl with the delectable Takeshi Kaneshiro and enjoyed it. On the basis of this, it was suggested that I watch Good Luck, a Japanese drama starring someone named Takuya Kimura. I had absolutely no recollection of who this actor was except for the fact that he apparently played Faye Wong's very cute Japanese love interest in 2046.

As I watched the show however, it provided a really 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 contains English subtitles. The English subbed version contains extremely helpful explanations of flight terms and instruments as well as explanation of references to Japanese food and television programmes. Admittedly it has caused me some perplexity as there are certain differences between the English and Chinese versions which only a Japanese-speaker will be able to help me resolve..

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.

Warning - 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). Most people I know prefer Pride. There is a detailed review of Pride here - I largely agree with it. I have yet to write detailed reviews for Hero, Love Generation and Beautiful Life which I also enjoyed.,

My friend James said that he likes Pride better because of the 2 main characters. He thought that there was more of them featured - Aki is pretty, and Kimura's character is "so cool". He conceded that while the story was a little lacking, he felt it was nicely done with details even though it was predictable.

He also said that he found the series quite touching. For him, he watched Good Luck and felt that it wasn't as dramatic as Pride, the relationship between the 2 characters wasn't as strong compared to Pride. He said that Pride was like a love story wich ice hockey as the backdrop. Although he liked the other characters in Good Luck and the fact that each episode was about a new situation, he note that the problems were normally resolved by a group of people and Kimura was not the only "hero".

I found James' analysis of Pride and Good Luck interesting. For me, Good Luck felt much more romantic as the love story in Good Luck is between two equal people - both Ogawa and Shinkai are well-suited. They have strong personalities, they are intelligent and they are caring. In Pride, it felt like Takuya's character had so much more personality and character than the girl. She was just a doormat with nothing to offer but beauty and patience and that kind of thing. I just got the impression that Good Luck's romance was a romance between two equals where as Takuya was much more superior to Aki in Pride. It didn't feel very romantic.

Let me put it this way, Pride as a love story was more like traditional Cinderella where the prince saves the princess. Good Luck was more like the Drew Barrymore version Ever After in which she saves herself but still loves the prince because they are equals - not because he is a high class person honouring a lower class one. I agree that Kimura is extremely cool in Pride and I will watch the show again just for him because he is so cool and his character is so cool. As to the secondary characters in Pride though, only his best friend Da He seemed to be interesting to me.

In terms of problems being solved by a group of people in Good Luck rather than simply by Kimura's character – for me this is a good thing. It's 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.

I also am not of the view that the relationship between the leads in Good Luck wasn't as strong as in Pride. I think in Pride that the "love story" was much more dramatic (in fact melodramatic) and emotional with more crying, yelling / pain / misunderstanding etc I agree. In contrast, I think that the feelings demonstrated in Good Luck were more genuine and manifested themselves through actions and expression rather than words. In Pride, the characters spend a lot of time talking about how they feel, whereas in Good Luck they actually demonstrated how they felt eg:

Angela (a girl at work) and my friend Hera both said that they think that the girl who plays Ogawa is a bad actress - her face has no expression and it appears that she can't seem to act. Angela even went so far as to say that the actress comes across as playing a retarded / autistic character.

For me, I think Shibasaki Kou is a good actress because she plays her character just as she is supposed to play her. Cold, reserved and unable to express her emotions. She doesn't trust people, 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 control it afterwards.

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 think that this makes her a talented 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 performance. Also, for me - an antagonistic love/hate relationship between the leads is much more flirty, fun and sexy than an eye-rollling melodrama.

I really, really love it when a movie or a book or a song comes along and stays in my head and my mind for such a time. House of Flying Daggers and Good Luck are the first two movies / shows in a long time which have really resonated like this. I have been feeling a bit jaded lately because I've seen so many movies that were so forgettable ...... The last great one for me was probably Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World.

I love it when I just CANNOT leave a movie behind after I leave a theatre or I am still thinking about a book or a tv show after I have closed the book / turned off the tv. That's when I know it REALLY worked for me. If I can turn off the tv and not remember anything about the show, then I know it wasn't one that moved me. I really liked the fact that it made me laugh out loud so much or go: "Ohhhhhhhh" when something very touching was on the screen.

I could really believe that Shinkai and Ogawa liked each other and they were slowly, slowly trusting one another. It's so nice to see the way they always turn to each other when they have a problem. I know that I could never fall for a character like Takuya's in Pride but I would instantly go for someone liked Shinkai!!!!! Especially in that uniform ;)

Anyway, my detailed recap / episode guide and review is set out on this site. Please note that I know almost zero about Japanese culture and language so if anyone is able to help out with any clarifications on ambiguities, it would be much appreciated. I have set out some information to explain some of the things that I personally found unusual / confusing including set Japanese phrases. Please email.

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