You know, once the closing credits rolled on this drama, it occurred to me that Ikuta Toma is the closest thing Japan has to a romantic actor in the classic style of the Hollywood leading man, like Cary Grant or James Stewart. The type that can, with just a smile, make you forget all the mistakes of the past and think that everything is going to be fine.
Which is lucky, because with another actor this series may not have been as enjoyable. The basic story is that some guy from Tokyo helps reinvigorate a declining small town. If it weren't for Toma's air of "Women want to be with him, men want to be like him" I don't know if anyone else could have played this role.
The supporting cast, too, were great. Maki Yoko has been a joy to watch as the big-time Tokyo doctor sent back to her home town against her will. Kiritani Kenta put in a great performance as the optimist slowly worn down by the decline of the shopping centre.
The series doesn't finish with happy endings for everyone. Shops still close and love is still unrequited, but it's still a very upbeat story, full of hope for the future. As I said before, if you're new to Jdramas, this is a good place to start.