I really want to call this series "Recommended" just on the basis of two episodes but I guess that would be cheating.
It's beautiful. A beautiful piece of work. That's the first thing to say. It may be about a messy break up of a marriage, but it's already far more compelling than other dramas on the same subject.
The lead actor, Eita, just floors it as Hamasaki. Really. One thing I noticed about his work is the physicality of his acting. In Lucky Seven, he was lithe, athletic, easily moving through the scenes, hands in pockets, nonchalant. Here, he is uptight, elbows almost locked straight as he walks, skipping nervously across roads and slipping off the curbside.
Next to his impeccable performance is Ono Machiko. Her character, as the wife, is perfectly balanced between slobbish and feminine. Perhaps the most realistic portrayal of a woman I've seen on TV for a long time. By which I mean, she reminds me of my ex.
Alongside this married couple is another. Maki Yoko is a masseuse, whose slender body and warm husky voice are clearly meant as a contrast to the wife and therefore be a fantasy figure for Hamasaki. Especially since she has an unfaithful husband (played by Ayano Go, but no real clue to his character yet). However, this ideal is cruelly shattered at the end of episode two, leaving me with no idea about where the story is going to going next. Which is how I like it.
This drama is, so far, funny and heart-breaking and embarrassing and fascinating. Fascinating to see where the story goes, and to see if the writers and actors can keep up this standard.