For her first starring drama on NTV, Ishihara Satomi plays Etsuko Kono, an enthusiastic applicant whose only goal is to become a fashion editor for the magazine Lassy. When she finally gets into the publishing company of her dream, it turns out it isn’t exactly in the department she was hoping for. To her disappointment, she ends up in the small and least glamorous proofreading section instead.
To be able to question accuracy and mark up errors, a proofreader’s understanding and proficiency in language is very much needed. Etsuko didn’t initially meet the requirements since she tends to misread some Kanji characters but chief Naoto Takehara (played by Goro Kishitani) thinks she is right for the job when he notices Etsuko’s sharp attention to details during the panel interview. Besides, her name Ko(no) Etsu(ko) is the Japanese word for proofreading so the chief noted that she might have been destined to do this after all. Etsuko is quite reluctant to accept the offer since she doesn’t even read books (she only reads fashion magazines) but she is convinced that this could just become her stepping stone. She vows to work hard and hopefully get transferred to the department of her choice as soon as possible.
With her trendy work outfits and loquacious personality, Etsuko totally stands out in the quiet and boring proofreaders’ office. She also tends to get carried away and goes beyond the scope of her job as a proofreader. She tries to meet the authors in person, goes into the stories’ actual locations, and even reenacts certain scenarios just to verify facts. Her habits often cause arguments with editor Hachiro Kaizuka. Ishihara Satomi and Munetaka Aoki has some good comic chemistry, I can seriously watch them bicker all day.
Etsuko is vocal about her crush on the university student played by Masaki Suda but this romantic angle is still pretty much one-sided at this point. I don’t think it’s going to get dragging though, because by Episode 2, the newly scouted model and genius mystery writer Yukito Orihara already knows that Etsuko is the proofreader who’s working on his manuscript. It won’t be long til he expresses his interest on her too but complications will soon arise when she discovers that the guy is currently temporarily living together (just out of sheer convenience and practicality) with Toyoko Morio. Tsubasa Honda plays Morio, Etsuko’s university junior, who scouted Yukito as a model to accomplish her duties as an editor in the same publishing company.
In the drama, Masaki Suda is regarded as someone who is extremely handsome. He’s really cute and he does make my heart flutter but calling him “a super ikemen who makes every other guy look like a kappa” is a bit of a stretch. Save that superlative for someone like KimuTaku, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Odagiri Joe, or even Yamapi.
Jimi ni Sugoi is a well-paced feel-good series. I’ve only seen two episodes but I have already witnessed the changes in Etsuko’s character. While her dedication to the job is certainly commendable, her disregard of rules and other’s feelings also lead into some trouble for the team. However, despite her persistence and stubborness, she knows how to own up to her mistakes and apologize to the people she has hurt. In the beginning, she surely looked down on the job and the plainness of the people she’s working with but she’s continuously learning a thing or two about the importance of proofreading in the process of book publishing.
I also think proofreading is troublesome so I don’t usually reread my work after writing them. I thought that’s what proofreaders are for anyway, but I learned my lesson after writing the English subtitles for an independent short film and submitting it without proofreading. To my surprise, it entered the competition and was included as a finalist at a popular indie festival. The short film, with the subtitles I wrote, was shown on the big screen of our country’s national center for the performing arts. Later on, it was included into more film festivals and was shown once again in several theaters.
In the drama, Etsuko failed to notice the missing “C” in the subtitle of a blogger-turned-author’s book cover. In my case, I accidentally included the unnecessary article “a” in one of the lines of the main actor in the film that I worked on. It made the line look awkward. I asked my friend if she noticed my mistake in the subtitles. She didn’t, but that glaring error is haunting me til this day. So, I know exactly how Etsuko and the whole proofreading team felt during that “sticker” incident. It might be just one unnoticeable letter to others but it is definitely a big deal for the writer, editor, and proofreader. This show depicts the significance of these people behind-the-scenes who are often uncredited for their work.
I hope the show continues this balanced tone of inspiring and endearing while tackling the personal, professional, and romantic developments of its characters. I enjoy watching Ishihara Satomi in the usual genki role that totally suits her and I can already feel her chemistry with Masaki Suda. More so, I’m definitely looking forward to the next set of outfits she’d wear in the series.