Review: Good Partner Muteki no Bengoshi
How well do you work with your ex-partner?
Well, not that well, if this drama is any indication. Both you have history together, both of you have to re-learn how to work as a divorcee, and both of you have to juggle the competitive spirit in the office with the teamwork needed when dealing your daughter.
Good Partner is 9-episodes Japanese drama aired in TV Asahi from 21st April to 16th June 2016. It tells a story about Sasisaka Kento, a good-looking business lawyer who's working in the same law agency as his ex-wife, Natsume Yoshie. Each episode sees him trying to solve the client's business problems.
Good Partner was written by Fukuda Yasushi. This is his third series with TV Asahi.
The drama consists some of Japan's well-known actors:-
- Takenouchi Yutaka as Sasisaka Kento, a partner in Jinguji Law Firm
- Matsuyuki Yasuko as , Natsume Yoshie, a partner in Jinguji Law Firm
- Kaku Kento as Atami Yusaku, an associate lawyer working with Sasisaka
- Yamazaki Ikusaburo as Akahoshi Gen, an associate lawyer working with Natsume.
- Sugimoto Tetta as Nekota Junichi, a partner in Jinguji Law Firm
- Kunimura Jun as Jinguji Kazuhiko, the owner of Jinguji Law Firm
- Matsukaze Mizuki as Sakisaka Mizuki, the Sasisaka's daughter with Natsume.
- Ookura Koji as Osamu Tsukumo, the paralegal who works at Jinguji Law Firm
The drama achieved an average rating of 10.7% in Kanto Region.
The casting is on point
Yutaka is a very reliable actor. This is not his first lead role, and it won't be his last. A veteran with more than 20 years experience, he brought the much-needed charm into his role. On a lesser skilled actor, Sasisaka could end up as one-dimensional if he's only been portrayed as vain, good-looking lawyer. But Yutaka steered it away, adding depth into his character.
Opposite Yutaka is Matsuyuki Yasuko, who has collected various awards since her debut back in 1993. As Natsume, she's tough in court, beautiful and has various guys fallen on her feet. The highlight for me is her Japanese dance recital scenes where Natsume took it as a hobby. She has a good control and her movement flows smoothly.
Overall, the cast may look balance on sheet, with a nice split between genders. However, the storyline gives more emphasis on the male characters. Apart from Natsume, the only other recurring female character that has her own storyline is Sasisaka's daughter, Mizuki. The rest of the female characters were there to act as supporters, we never figure their hobbies or their motivations in doing their job.
The story can be better
Story-wise, my favourite is definitely Atami's arc in trying to save his friend's hotspring inn. Fukuda Yasushi when he adds quirky characters, in this case, it was Judge Tonigawa. It was funny especially when they're looking at the judge's response. And I can really root them as a team in this two-episodes story. Most importantly, I like the way they get to the solution. They use data to get to the solution and comparison chart to convince the judge.
However, there are some episodes that feel a bit cop-out, where the conclusion is less than satisfactory. One of them is in the final episode, where a lady came to Jinguiji Law Office seeking to divorce her husband, but the husband refused to grant the divorce. The agency couldn't accept the wife's request as her husband is an existing client. The whole issue was solved when they found out the wife's new manager is a swindle.
In this case, the audience was left wondering- did the husband changed his mind? Sure, we have a statement on he will support his wife's new business, but it feels like a throwaway line. The story spent majority of the time trying to catch the swindler, so it feels like their problem remain unsolved. Especially when their argument is serious enough to almost cause a divorce.
The last episode supposed to mirror Sasisaka-Natsume own relationship. Throughout the series, I understand why they got divorce. Both of them are hot-headed and jumped into argument. However, I could not root for them to get together. At least they decided to take it slow and try again, as both are trying to change their behaviour to make sure their relationship works.
The theme song for this drama Plus One by Ken Hirai
An amusing drama overall. Recommended for those who's looking for dramas that tackle law as their genre. The script could be improved as they missed a chance to capitalise on both Yutaka and Matsuyuki's acting skills.