Ushi ni Negai wo

August 13, 2007

Love & Farm

Ushi ni Negai wo: Love & Farm

Ushi ni Negai wo (Wish Upon a Cow) is probably the best overall series this season.

Six students from Tokyo majoring in areas like Agriculture or Veterinary undergo an agricultural internship in Hokkaido. Among them are Takashimizu Takashi (Tamayama Testsuji), who is from the village but left because he thinks it has no future; Mano Tohei (Koide Keisuke), a studious guy aiming to enter the agriculture department of the government; and rounding out the boys Wakamatsu Ryuta (Nakata Atsuhiko), who seems more concerned with taking it easy and drawing than anything else. For the girls we have Fujii Ayaka (Aibu Saki), who I hasn’t really stood out all the much to me yet; Suenaga Mihoko (Karina), the pampered rich bitch with an attitude; and Chiba Kazumi (Toda Erika), who dreams and studies hard to be a dairy farmer but in practice screws up a lot.

Each of them has their own issues to deal with in order to get along on the farm, and get along with each other. All of them look like they’ll develop an interesting subplot, except maybe Ayaka whose motivation I can’t even remember after seeing 4 episodes. That can’t be a good sign. Each actor pulls their role off well. Mihoko’s antics early on can’t help but draw comparisons to The Simple Life as she inquires about a convenience store to buy cosmetics, only to be informed it’s an hour away by car. Toda Erika is absolutely adorable as the well meaning but somewhat spaced out Kazumi. I really started watching this because I’ve been following her around ever since the Death Note movies (Misa-Misa!).

The show seems to be a commentary on the state of small farm towns in Japan. These towns have been literally drying up and vanishing lately as the younger generations all move toward the metropolitan areas. On top of a lack of people, some types of (like the milk pointed out in the show) are just facing a steep drop in demand. These problems come to the forefront as Takashimizu struggles against the desires of his family and the lack of a future he sees for the town. I expect more exploration of the issues faced by Japanese farmers as the series progresses.

Between the solid cast, good writing, and topical content, Ushi ni Negai wo is a well rounded show that shines amongst the extremes displayed by the other series I’ve talked about here. We’ll see how it develops, but at the moment I really enjoy it. Besides, what other show has a live calf birth?

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2 Responses to “Ushi ni Negai wo”

  1. solag said

    Hey I just wanted to say I really like your blog. I’m a big anime fan but i’ve never tried a nonanimated Japanese show, this show seems pretty fun, maybe I will give it a shot!

  2. Anime was the start for me too, I started getting into the live action stuff a few years ago. I highly recommend looking into some non-anime material if you’re into Japan. If you like anime, look for a drama called Densha Otoko. It’s hilarious, and anime fans will get most of the otaku-related jokes.

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